Like all retailers, c-store owners use promotions to encourage sales across a range of categories and they are an important tool for retailers to show they are delivering value to customers.
The convenience sector therefore awaits with interest the Scottish government’s diet and obesity strategy. In the autumn there will be a consultation specifically looking at restricting promotions, at the same time there will be another looking at an out-of-home strategy.
Its approach could be seen as a war on snacks: confectionery; sweet biscuits; crisps; pastries; cakes; and soft drinks which contain sugar. The overall aim is to reduce the intake of ‘discretionary foods’ by at least 50%, reduce over-purchase and impulse buying. At the moment the plan is to restrict multibuys including meal deals. It will also look at ‘in-premise’ marketing. Multipacks and pricemarked packs are not on the hit list at the moment, and it is not clear whether any regulations will be part of the Good Food Nation Bill or a standalone piece of legislation.
Given the condition of the high street and the number of shop closures, if the Scottish government were to consider introducing additional measures to that of the rest of the UK, this would place extra costs on to Scottish retailers.
For independent retailers, promotions are a way of differentiating themselves, responding to competition, changing customer demand and tailoring their offer to their customer and all within the context of responsible community retailing.
The industry must work together to ensure the best possible outcome for both retailers and customers.