Our 2012 product survey illustrates the strength of tobacco, with 33% of those questioned stating that it was the top performing category of last year, as well as the category that retailers expect to perform best over the coming year. Tobacco received almost twice as many votes as its nearest rival, alcohol, which 17% of retailers cited as last year’s best performer. hardly suprising, then, that JPS hand rolling tobacco was named Product of the Year by C-Store readers.

With the tobacco display ban now in force in large stores across England, it is hardly surprising that convenience retailers have such high expectations. Many indies have already reported a boost in sales since larger rivals went dark.

Alcohol is the category that most retailers plan to dedicate more space to this year, with 17% of votes - a significant increase on last year when only 5% said so.

Pricemarked products remain ever popular with the public almost two-thirds (60%) of retailers claim it is the pricing trend they see the most demand for from consumers. However, this needs to be balanced against retailers’ number one demand, flagged up by 34% of respondents, which is for suppliers to provide them with decent margins.

What was your best performing product category last year?

Tobacco 33%

Alcohol 17%

Energy & soft drinks 17%

Confectionery 10%

Groceries 5%

News & mags 4%

Chilled 2%

Other 5%

Not sure 7%

Which category do you expect to perform best this year?

Tobacco 33%

Alcohol 17%

Energy & soft drinks 12%

Confectionery 9%

Groceries 7%

News & mags 5%

Chilled 2%

Local products 2%

Other 4%

Not sure 9%

Which of the following are you using to market your products and services?


Leaflets 51%

Advertising 34%

Newsletters 13%

Website/Facebook 5%

Sponsoring local events 3%

“Leaflets work well. We’ve tried advertising in the local paper, but it results in only a little extra business. The advantage with leaflets is that people tend to keep them to remind them of offers. More retailers should consider sponsoring local events and groups. Last year we sponsored the local school fair and customers mentioned it when they shopped with us.”

Paresh Vyas, JND Stores, Droylsden, Manchester

Which product areas will you be dedicating more space to this year?

Alcohol 19%

Confectionery 17%

Energy & soft drinks 11%

Groceries 11%

Chilled 7%

Tobacco 6%

Fruit & veg 5%

News & mags 4%

Local products 3%

Other 5%

No change 31%

Don’t know 5%

Which categories would you like to see more innovation from?

Alcohol 27%

Confectionery 25%

Tobacco 19%

Groceries 18%

Energy & soft drinks 17%

Fruit & veg 12%

Local products 11%

Chilled 11%

Snacks 9%

News & mags 9%

Food to go 5%

Don’t know 15%

What is the number one thing, moneywise, that manufacturers and wholesalers could do to help you during 2012?

Decent margins 34%

More promotions 27%

Pricemark products 27%

Deeper price-cut promotions 7%

Extend credit 1%

Don’t know 4%

What is the biggest product pricing trend you are seeing demand for from consumers, from the following?

Pricemarks 60%

Economy prices 15%

BOGOF deals 13%

Multi-buy deals 9%

Rounded prices 3%

Which company’s sales rep has been the most helpful in the past 12 months?

Cadbury 25%

Mars 12%

Nestlé 6%

Booker 5%

JTI 5%

Walkers 5%

Imperial Tobacco 4%

Coca-Cola 3%

National Lottery 2%

Palmer & Harvey 2%

Other 9%

Don’t know 36%

Last year’s survey


What was your best-performing category last year?

Tobacco 27%

Alcohol 26%

Confectionery 11%

Energy & soft drinks 8%

Groceries 7%

Chilled 5%

Fruit & veg 5%

Local products 3%

Other 3%

Not sure 5%

Which category do you expect to perform best this year?

Alcohol 28%

Tobacco 21%

Confectionery 13%

Energy & soft drinks 9%

Fruit & Veg 5%

Groceries 5%

Chilled 5%

News & mags 3%

Other 4%

Not sure 7%

Which product area will you be dedicating more space to this year?

Energy 10%

Confectionery 7%

Alcohol 5%

Groceries 5%

Chilled 4%

Food to go 4%

Snacks 3%

Other 1%

No change 61%

Retailer’s View: Des Barr

“Tobacco is the biggest category in terms of turnover, and there’s an opportunity to increase sales because of the display ban - but this will only last for a short time. In terms of profit, tobacco isn’t the best performer for me. Margins are only about 5% and in the past 10 years I’ve seen 75% of my smoking customers move to cheaper brands. Retailers need to focus not just on sales growth, but on profit, by looking at growing trends such as lifestyle products and goods with high margins, such as bananas.”

Des Barr, Sinclair Barr Newsagents, Paisley, Renfrewshire