With the National Lottery set to undergo significant changes to its main game, Camelot sales director Duncan Malyon sits down with Convenience Store to answer retailers’ questions and concerns

What does the new game structure mean for independent retailers?

“This is one of the biggest National Lottery draws since it was first introduced back in 1994. It will provide an opportunity for retailers to grow sales and increase commission as well as improving footfall in what is a tricky trading environment.”

What support will be given to retailers in the run-up to the NL game structure change?

“We have 102 sales reps on the road and every one of our retailers has already been visited. They will be paid another visit before the October launch date and there will be on-screen training available to those who need it. There will also be new player guides distributed as well as the new playslips. Our Fastpay system will also be changed as Lotto Plus will no longer be available so players will have to get new Fastpay cards.”

As well as the changes to the main draw game, Camelot’s minimum sales criteria has recently changed. What are the changes and what is the logic behind them?

“The minimum sales criteria for retailers has been reduced from £1,000 to £800 per week, which is significantly less than the average weekly sales of our retailers. This has been done because of the 8,000 new terminals that were made available last year. We’ve also changed the distance for community outlets - stores that don’t meet the minimum sales criteria but are given special dispensation because of their location - from two miles as the crow flies to four miles drive-time as we felt this was a more accurate system. The new way of calculating this has actually increased the number of community outlets from 390 to 570.”

There may be some community outlets that will suddenly have another store within that four-mile radius. Will they lose their community outlet status because of this?

“We will look at every store in isolation rather than a blanket approach to redeployment. There are sometimes extreme circumstances where a National Lottery retailer isn’t making minimum sales and we will take that into account before redeployment.”

The Sales Improvement Programme (SIP) which monitors sales over a 60-day period has also returned. Will this lead to terminals being removed from stores if they’re not meeting weekly sales targets?

“The fundamental point of the Sales Improvement Programme is to maximise sales. There is a lot of demand for National Lottery terminals and it’s our job to ensure that those retailers with terminals are maximising sales. If they aren’t, we need to look at redeploying that terminal but that doesn’t just happen overnight. We will look at each of those stores and put it on a sales plan, providing support and then only after that, if they’re still not meeting targets, we’ll look at redeployment. It isn’t about being overly tough - it’s about doing what we can to maximise sales and returns to good causes. Of course, if any retailer is unhappy with our final decision, there are clear appeal processes in place for them.”

With the SIP in place, will there be opportunities for retailers who have applied for a terminal in the past, but have not received one?

“There is a natural churn of terminals all the time and the allocation of terminals is a rolling process for us. But it’s important to remember that just because a store closes in one area, it doesn’t mean that another store in the same area will be given that terminal. We look at the demand on a nationwide level so if a terminal is taken out of a store in Brighton, then Aberdeen may be the place for that terminal to go rather than automatically going to another store in Brighton.”

Retailers have voiced concerns that new multiple sites have been receiving terminals ahead of independent stores in the same areas. What’s your response to this?

“Let me be really clear on this, we want to have the best stores possible. When a terminal becomes available we will use our criteria to select the next best store that will generate sales. No store is given priority over another and the multiples are viewed by us in exactly the same way as independent retailers. We have very clear processes regarding store selection and those are strictly adhered to. We have 37,000 terminals that we want in the best sites possible and it doesn’t matter if they are independent or multiple.” •

Changing fortunes

National Lottery

The changes to the National Lottery will come into effect for the October 5 Saturday draw. The price per line will increase from £1 to £2 and Lotto Plus will no longer be played. Under the new prize structure the prize for three numbers increases from £10 to £25 and the main jackpot on Saturday increases to £5m. The Wednesday jackpot will increase to £2.5m. There will also be a raffle on Saturdays in which 50 people will win £20,000 each. To kick off the new structure, a mega raffle on October 5 and 12 will reward 1,000 people £20,000 each.

Retailer commissions will remain at the same rate although the minimum payout amount which they earn commission from will rise from £10.01 to £25.01.