I gave my staff a big pat on the back this week. They have been reading the Londis Toolkit booklet every day and using the advice to increase sales in the store.

They are now designing counter displays to secondary site excess promotional stock that would normally be kept out back. We recently ran a promotion on 1.5ltr bottles of Buxton Water at ‘two for £1’. The staff put this on the counter and decorated it with daffodils. Activities like this really motivate staff and the product sold pretty well.

We’ve also been doing lots of work with suppliers to increase sales. We’ve just teamed up with the Oxford Mail to run another giveaway. We did one at Christmas with mince pies and shifted 300 newspapers. This time they are going to run a half-page ad telling people that if they buy their paper at our store they’ll get a free sausage roll. A representative from the Oxford Mail will be in-store to hand out the papers and promote the offer, and the sausage rolls have been provided by Cuisine de France.

Our frozen pizza sales have also done well recently as a result of Dr Oetker remerchandising the category. Sales are up 122%, so I’m chuffed to bits. The Chicago Town subs were especially popular with our student customer base.

Rollover hot dogs are also a big hit and their new chilli dogs are flying out the door. The college has opened above the store now, so we have seen an uplift of 10% Monday to Friday.

I’ve been selling lots of Rustlers burgers, too. I’ve moved my open-deck Pepsi chiller so that I can position our new Kepak microwave right next to the Rustlers chiller. We don’t charge to use it, but it’s definitely encouraged more people to buy into the category. Sales of Rustlers are up 20%, but I think it will go up more in time.

I am going to bite the bullet and apply for a 24-hour liquor licence so that I can really take advantage of summer evening sales. Opening 24 hours isn’t for everyone, but with so many students around, the demand is certainly there. We already have a hatch as the store’s previous owner operated 24/7, so I won’t have to adapt the store.

I’m looking forward to the National Convenience Show at the NEC next month. I’m going to be a panellist in a discussion about community events and I’ll also feature in a video at the Association of Convenience Stores Summit, which takes place at the show.