It is rather fitting that Londis Sheppey, a 1,200sq ft store on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, now has a whole aisle dedicated to fresh foods. Owned by Jatinder and Randip Sahota, the store was originally bought by Jatinder’s parents Max and Sue back in 1989, when it was a greengrocers and still had a deli. Over the years, the shop has evolved a full c-store offer, but its latest development brings it back full circle with a big focus on fresh once again. The £120,000 investment was part-funded by Londis, with its contribution worked out in accordance with Jatinder’s commitment and loyalty.
THE FRESH AISLE
Jatinder was keen to get a whole aisle of fresh because you don’t usually find that in a 1,200sq ft shop.
The ceiling was raised in the fresh aisle to accommodate eye-catching lights. LED lights are used across the store.
Black tiles differentiate the fresh aisle from the rest of the store. New signage was developed especially for the store, with wooden frames to give a modern, clean look.
He says Delta really came through for him on the refrigeration. Originally, he was going to have single-glazed glass doors but instead had new double-glazed acrylic panels from Europe which are much lighter than glass and fold all the way back so they are easier for both customers and staff. Doors also feature vertical LEDs.
GOOD TO GO
Jatinder was keen to build his food to go sales, so Bake ‘n’ Bite, the Tchibo coffee machine and newspapers are all positioned right at the front of the store, near to sandwiches and cold drinks, to make shopping quick and easy for all the early morning tradesmen.
As a result, Bake ‘n’ Bite sales are up 15% and Tchibo sales are up 10 drinks a day.
Other categories were given more space. For example, more kids’ cereals were added to please the local mums, and bulk deals are dotted around the floor.
The shop front was changed: the door was moved and new graphics were added. The electric doors have been a big hit, particularly with the elderly and with mums with prams.
Jatinder invested in block paving and a ramp to comply with access legislation, but also to smarten the outside appearance.
Jatinder says they are lucky to have a raised pavement. He makes the most of this by keeping the top half of the window free of signage so it gives passers-by an enticing view of the new-look store.
BEERS, WINES AND SPIRITS
The beer and wine chillers are deep enough to take a full case. Jatinder says some retailers underestimate the importance of this, but deeper chillers mean they’re less labour intensive for stock replenishment.
The cider market is in growth so the store now has a chiller dedicated to it, while for wines Jatinder scaled back the reds but increased the whites, roses and champagne. The latter was moved from behind the till area into the chillers.
Space for crisps and snacks increased from 2.5m to 4m. Shoppers had asked for more sharing bags and multipacks so the extra room was given over to these and sharing bags grouped together near the beers, wines and spirits section.
Jatinder says all the changes in-store were done scientifically, using epos data to identify the best performing categories and where growth could come from. A customer survey was integral to the development of the new range selection too.
MAKING THE COUNTER COUNT
Jatinder describes the signage over the till area as a first for Londis as it’s all in orange when it would usually be in white. The counter is bigger than before and there is integral lighting.
Next to each till is a bagging unit to make serving and bagging quicker and easier.
Camelot has promised a bigger scratchcard display unit, taking it from 12 games to 16.
The customer-facing part of the counter now houses mints and sugar confectionery.
Customer feedback has been “outstanding”, says Jatinder, with average basket spend £6 and growing.