The Convenience Retailer of the Year 2015 combines a commitment to local produce and fresh food, cutting-edge technology, smart design and old-fashioned customer service. Since converting to the premium black format in 2013 and under manager Craig McAulay, Scotmid Stockbridge in Edinburgh has gone from strength to strength, in spite of a Sainsbury’s Local on its doorstep. The store houses two Scottish bakeries, offers local products across the category spectrum, and engages fully with the community.
Best customer service
The store also picked up the best customer service award for its welcoming ambience. Customers are greeted upon entry with daily tastings and demos from the Breadwinner artisan bakery, while manager Craig McAulay and his staff are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. The store seeks regular customer feedback at the till, with results showing that 89% are satisfied with the shopping experience.
Run by Sean and Lesley McVey, the Breadwinner artisan bakery operates exclusive to Scotmid. Deliveries come twice a day with a tailored range, and Sean is on hand with bread-making demos while Lesley looks after the tastings
Its bread of the day is promoted on blackboards outside, and include rarities such as spinach and Thai spice brioche and chocolate orange fruit loaf
Stuarts bakery operates further back in the store, complementing the Breadwinner’s offer with a range of pastries, cakes and pies
Scotmid takes 35% margins from the bakeries. Housing them in store enables the bakeries to operate on the high street, which they wouldn’t be able to afford in their own premises.
Customers have a choice between fast service at the new self-scan checkouts, which has 33% uptake, and personal service at manned checkouts
Other innovations include a freshly-squeezed orange juice maker, which allows shoppers to make their own orange juices from scratch
A new free-from fixture has been introduced and is performing well
Recipe cards are displayed prominently around the store to inspire purchase
Young Scots are offered a 10% discount in store.
Fresh accounts for 45% of store sales and combines a range of Co-op and local lines, in both premium and value. Some 60 local and Scottish suppliers have been added since the refit in 2013
A locally-supplied tapas range provides ‘local with a Mediterranean twist’, while locally-produced Graham’s milk was on offer at 2ltrs for £1 when C-Store visited, while its butter range was also on offer for £1 – and both promoted on blackboards outside the store
The provenance of local produce is also highlighted on shelf barkers
Meals for tonight include the Co-op’s Loved by Us premium range.
A wide range of chilled beer and wine sits alongside local craft beer and a range of speciality wines, ranging from £10 to £40. A local wine merchant, Corkers, is used for next-day deliveries. BWS accounts for 20% of sales and is up 5% year on year.
Fruit & veg
Sales of fruit and veg are up 10% since the refit after extending the range by 60 lines
Pre-packs and loose fruit and veg available in market-style displays. Value lines are also available, such as £1 packs of potatoes which are sold in a separate fixture
The range includes a mix of Co-op and seasonal local lines
Produce is situated enticingly at the front of store, nearest the entrance
The store’s strong focus on local produce and fresh food was a significant factor in the judges’ decision.