Costcutter Supermarket Group (CSG) has unveiled the next phase of its Shopper First programme in an effort to drive retailers’ sales.


Shopper First, which is available exclusively to CSG retailers, provides in-depth shopper insights and data to help independent retailers grow their business.

Focusing on five core pillars of activity, the new Shopper First: Drive Five to Thrive, provides retailers with broader shopper insights, advice on brand engagement, detailed space guidance, category and range advice, and advice on store execution.

CSG chief executive, Darcy Willson-Rymer, told C-Store that the latest Shopper First would boost retailers’ sales by 20% if they embraced the programme.   

“All of retailers can access Shopper First regardless of what brand you’re in. And while we are encouraging retailers to make the investments in their stores, there are many things that retailers can do to drive their business forward without significant investment,” he said.

“Getting the range right, following the planograms, investing in the training of their store colleagues – all these things will help grow sales. And we know that the stores that we’ve been working with that if you embrace this, you will get a 20% sales growth off the back of Shopper First.

“For independent retailers, it can be hard. You’ve got cost pressures that are happening in the market, the customer has more and more choice, declining categories like tobacco and news, increased legislation. The easiest thing to do is look at that as a bit of a spiral, but it doesn’t need to be like that.”

CSG marketing director, Sean Russell, added: “Shopper First: Drive Five to Thrive is at the heart of our mission to help independent retailers thrive. In today’s competitive trading environment, that’s about understanding the market and responding to shoppers’ shifting expectations.

“We have already proved that Shopper First empowers our retailers to drive growth for their stores but we felt there was more we could do so that all of our retailers are maximising their opportunities for generating incremental sales and profit. That’s why we’ve made considerable investment in the programme so that our retailers can accelerate their business growth.”

Shopper First: Drive Five to Thrive was unveiled at the CSG Expo in Harrogate on Thursday (28 March).

Accounts for the year ending 31 December 2018 show the group made an EBITDA loss of £4.2m on sales of £390m (2017: £512m). However, Willson-Rymer maintained that the second half of the year saw performance return to 2017 levels, and that year-on-year sales for January and February 2019 were up by 15%.