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THE NO.1 SCOTTISH GROCERY BRAND BACK ON TV FROM 1ST DECEMBER* Copyright © Snowman Enterprises Limited 2019 THE SNOWMAN TM Snowman Enterprises Limited *Source: Kantar World Panel, Value Sales, Take Home Non-Alcohol Brands, MAT to 08.09.19, Total Scotland

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A retailer’s view of Wholefoods Atlanta


All eyes on 2020 after a tough year for Barr’s DECEMBER 2019 | ISSUE 200


200th issue



SLR’s vaping event tackles the US health scare


A General Election and Brexit ensure that retailers enter 2020 amidst a mass of confusion and uncertainty.


Are forecourts the new stars of convenience?


What do adults drink when they’re not drinking?

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December 2019


Contents ISSUE 200

NEWS p6 p7 p8 p10 p28

p30 p31

Healthy Living Programme Kids go bananas for new symbol group loyalty scheme. SGF Dan Brown to succeed Asim Sarwar as President of the Scottish Grocers Federation. Retailers Coatbridge store owner strikes it lucky with second competition win in six months. News Extra Deposit Return Scheme The Scottish Wholesale Association demands a say in running DRS. Product News Bisto’s community-themed competition returns and Delice De France has something new for convenience. Off-Trade News The future looks bright for additive-free gin. Newstrade The Sun pays tribute to four outstanding Scottish newsagents.







INSIDE BUSINESS p32 Cloud Chasing 2 A full report from SLR’s second annual vaping event, which this year tackled scare stories from America and offered valuable category guidance. p40 The Big Interview Jonathan Kemp The Barr Soft Drinks Commercial Director is upbeat about 2020. p42 SLR Rewards It’s time to prepare your entries for the most rewarding awards in local retailing. p44 Wholefoods Atlanta Dan Brown takes time out from the NACS conference to tour a stunning American store. p47 Hotlines Coca-Cola expands its Monster Espresso range and has a new rival in the Scottish cola market. p62 Under The Counter For someone who says they hate Christmas, the Auld Yin is obsessed with it. FEATURES p46 Forecourts The sector has been revitalised in recent years and looks to be ripe for growth in Scotland. p55 Last Minute Christmas Must Stocks There will always be chances to boost festive spend. p60 Adult Soft Drinks This category deserves some attention from retailers – especially over Christmas.

ON THE COVER p14 What’s in store for 2020? Industry insiders forecast what the New Year holds for convenience retailers.

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News HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAMME Children go bananas for symbol group partnership

Usdaw survey reveals extent of in-store abuse An Usdaw survey launched in the trade union’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week (11 to 17 November) found that an average shopworker is verbally abused, threatened or assaulted more than 21 times a year. Around two-thirds of shopworkers were subjected to verbal abuse, 41% were threatened by a customer and nearly 5% were assaulted, which amounts to around 400 assaults every day.

Mills to leave Unitas John Mills, Deputy Managing Director of Unitas Wholesale, will leave the company at the end of 2019. Unitas formed in November 2018, when Landmark Wholesale and Today’s Group merged; Landmark boss Mills took on the newly created role of Deputy Managing Director to manage the integration between the two businesses. Current Retail Director John Kinney becomes Sales and Marketing Director, effective 1 January.

Bestway gives £100k to Save the Children The Bestway Foundation has donated £100,000 to Save the Children – the proceeds from the Bestway Group’s annual Ascot Charity Race Day held in June.

Keystore’s kids loyalty scheme comes to fruition KeyStore has joined forces with SGF’s Healthy Living Programme to launch the Welby Fruit Loyalty Club. The new scheme, which encourages children to make a healthier choice when it comes to snacking, incentivises kids to choose a banana, apple, orange or pear instead of confectionery by giving them a loyalty card that is stamped each time they buy a piece of fruit – the fifth piece of fruit is then completely free of charge. Initially being trialled by the Healthy Living Programme in 12 KeyStore outlets across Inverclyde and Renfrewshire, the Welby Fruit Loyalty Club is also designed to encourage retailers to place more emphasis on fruit and veg in their stores. AJ Benning, owner of KeyStore More in Cowal View, Gourock, welcomed local kids and teachers for the official launch of the scheme. “It was a brilliant afternoon and the kids were really excited,” said AJ.

“I’m finding in this area that parents want to see their kids make healthier choices and I’ve noticed that a lot of them will choose fruit instead of sweets which makes the Welby scheme perfect for this store.” Under the Welby scheme, AJ is currently charging kids 35p for a piece of fruit. “I’ll see how it goes over the coming weeks and might develop it

EXHIBITIONS Scottish brands in the spotlight


Scotland’s suppliers sign up for food show

Record Lottery first-half sales

The race day was first held in 1994. Save the Children was the beneficiary in 2004, and was chosen again in recognition of the support the fund provides to children in need of education, health care and economic opportunities across the globe.

pladis adds new link to supply chain Snacking giant pladis has appointed Mario Reis as Chief Supply Chain Officer. He will be responsible for leading the global supply chain agenda across all pladis markets and serve as a member of the pladis Leadership Team. Reis has more than 30 years of international supply chain, procurement and management consulting

in the future by increasing the cost of an individual piece of fruit to 45p but offer a ‘3 for £1’ incentive.” Gillian Edgar, Field Manager for the Healthy Living Programme, said: “We’re trialling the initiative with JW Filshill in 12 stores and our aim is to roll it out to other fascias in due course. We had a fantastic launch with AJ in Gourock and thank him for his enthusiasm.”

Over 175 suppliers have confirmed attendance at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show. The trade event – the largest for the speciality food and drink market in Scotland – will take place from 19 to 21 January next year at the SEC in Glasgow.

The show gives retailers looking to cater to the growing demand for Scottish products the chance to view, compare and taste a host of new food and drink from some of the country’s best suppliers. For further information please visit

National Lottery ticket sales for the six months from 1 April to 28 September 2019) were a record £3,921.3m – an increase of £465m on the first half of 2018/19. Accounting for over 70% of all sales, retail remains the largest National Lottery sales channel. Over the period, Camelot grew in-store sales by £132.2m to £2,757.2m. Retailers earned £158.3m in commission over the half year, £11.1m more than H1 2018/19. Camelot couldn’t – or wouldn’t – say how retail sales were split between c-stores, multiples and other outlets, stating only that the average retailer payout was almost £3,600 for the half-year.




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News TRADE ASSOCIATIONS Asim Sarwar’s successor revealed

SGF names Dan Brown as upcoming President Scottish Grocers Federation has announced two major developments in its long-term succession planning. Nisa retailer Dan Brown has been appointed to the role of SGF Senior Vice-President. This means that Brown – widely seen as a rising star of the sector in Scotland – will assume the Presidency when current President Asim Sarwar steps down in October 2020. Brown, already a key member of the SGF National Executive, will become the Federation’s youngest-ever President. A “truly honoured” Dan said he was very much looking forward to working with Asim and the SGF team. He commented: “The SGF

has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and as we enter 2020 we bring with us a truly diverse wealth of experience and a political voice that has tremendous potential to influence the direction of our

industry.” SGF boss Pete Cheema added: “I am delighted that the National Executive has approved this move. This will ensure a smooth transition between two of the key roles within the federation. Dan’s fresh thinking, motivation and enthusiasm will undoubtedly have a big impact and will be a major asset as we move into 2020 and beyond.” At the same time, SGF announced that Keystore Retail Director Craig Brown will become the Federation’s Vice-President. This means that Brown will ultimately succeed to the Presidency when Dan Brown’s two-year term ends in 2022.



SYMBOL GROUPS Groundbreaking audio advertising campaign a winner

Sound business for Costcutter Costcutter is claiming a UK convenience sector first for its use of audio messaging to drive store visits. Joining forces with mobile adtech firm TabMo, Costcutter has added sound to its programme of mobile advertising for retailers. Shoppers that fit Costcutter’s target audience can be sent an audio ad, together with an onscreen mobile ad banner, while they are listening to their favourite mobile music streaming apps. GPS targeting, combined with the demographics for each individual Costcutter store, also means

people are only sent messages when they are in a relevant location and can act on them by visiting a store. Costcutter initially trialled TabMo’s audio messaging technology for its Find the Golden Mic competition – part of its Festival of Summer campaign. Following the campaign’s success, which saw 50% of those who engaged with the ad coming into store, the technology is now being integrated more widely into Costcutter’s broader communications strategy.







CO-OPERATIVES Community retailer marks significant milestone

Scotmid toasts 160th birthday

Scotmid 160 years ago.

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Scotmid has put on a series of celebrations to mark the opening of its first-ever store at Ponton Street, Edinburgh on Friday 4 November 1859. During the 160th anniversary week, each Scotmid store tried to raise £160 for the Society’s Charity of the Year partner, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland. Each store also rewarded ‘Community Heroes’ with a small


gift to say thanks for playing a key role in their local area. Scotmid originally formed as St Cuthbert’s Co-operative Association before merging with Dalziel Co-operative in 1981. Chief Executive John Brodie, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the fact we’ve been part of the local landscape for the past 160 years and the role that we’ve played in serving communities.”

FASTEST GROWING COLA BRAND IN THE MARKET4 Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Volume Sales, MAT to 28.09.19, Adult Soft Drinks as defined by Britvic. 2Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Value Sales, MAT to 28.09.19 and CGA, Total OOH, Value Sales, MAT, to 30.06.19, Kids Drinks as defined by Britvic.3Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Volume Sales, MAT to 28.09.19. 4Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Absolute Volume Sales Growth vs. YA, MAT to 28.09.19






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News RETAILERS Store owner strikes it lucky twice in under six months

PayPoint profits fall PayPoint’s latest interim results revealed a 5.2% drop in pre-tax profits for the payment services provider. Figures for the six months to 30 September 2019 also showed a 3.7% fall in operating margin to 42.1%. The group’s revenue fell 2.3% to £103.7m, although net revenue increased 3% to £57.3m. A further 2,207 PayPoint One terminals were installed over the half-year period, taking the total of sites to 15,088.

Records broken at GroceryAid Sporting Lunch GroceryAid’s annual Sporting Lunch (8 November) raised a record £635,347 for the industry charity. Now in its 54th year, the event broke a further record with over 1,200 colleagues from 200 companies in attendance.

Second win makes Khalid Coatbridge’s king of comps Coatbridge retailer Khalid Iqbal bagged a £500 Samsung smart TV after his name was plucked out of the hat as winner of Unitas Wholesale’s latest Big Night In Champion Brands Event competition. A “delighted” Khalid – customer of Unitas member United Wholesale Scotland – said the strength of the Champion Brands Event deals and regular three weekly promotions let him offer the most competitive deals to his Day-Today customers. This is the second competition Khalid has won this year. In June he and his business partner Shoaib Ahmed won VIP hospitality tickets to see Pakistan take on India in the Cricket World Cup, when their

cricket-themed Wolf Blass Yellow Label display bowled over the judges from Treasury Wine Estates. Following the Big Night In campaign, independent retailers can now access exclusive deals for

Christmas with a selection of leading Impulse and Licensed brands. They can also enter the Champion Brands Christmas prize draw for the chance to win a £500 Love to Shop Voucher in selected Unitas member depots. Unitas said the Champion Brands Event initiative provides retailers with the opportunity to benefit from competitive prices on leading brands, and to buy a complete solution for specific selling occasions. Retailers can keep up to date with the latest Champion Brands Event offers by downloading the Plan for Profit app, and full details of the Christmas campaign and prize draw are available from unitaswholesale.

Next year’s Sporting Lunch will be held on Friday 13 November

CHARITY Event raises £920 and more than a few laughs


2020 at the Grosvenor House

Sales leap in Linwood

Post Office and Payzone cooking with gas

Hotel. Email events@groceryaid. or call 01252 875925 to secure a table.

Postmaster pay rise The Post Office has announced that the fees postmasters get for providing PO services in their branches in 2020/21 will be 10% higher than in 2018/19. Postmasters will receive increased payments for providing everyday banking services; handling digital passport applications; and for handling online travel currency purchases collected in a branch. Smaller, rural Post Offices will also receive additional payments.

Nisa’s charity passes the £11m milestone As of last month, Nisa’s registered charity – Making a Difference Locally – has raised over £11m for local communities since its formation in 2008. Nisa partners have supported local causes with almost 12,000 donations to date, with recipients ranging from youth sports teams and community groups to hospices and health and

Weekly turnover at a Paisley convenience store has increased by 70% since it was taken over by new owners in December last year, according to Nisa. The 3,000sq ft Nisa Linwood was bought by the Ahmed family one week before Christmas and began trading immediately, with development work carried out overnight and during quieter trading periods. By early February 2019 the store, which previously traded under a rival fascia, saw turnover increase by more than 30%, with a range of measures introduced to grow the business.

These included the introduction of Co-op products, a free-to-use cash machine in the window and a focus on building good community relationships. Sales increased by a further 20% prior to a Stoneleigh 2019-style refurbishment at the end of May, with food-to-go, Equi’s ice-cream and coffee added at that time. The signage was completed in July with the latest Nisa Evolution fascia installed; since the finishing touches were added sales have increased by a further 17%. Store owner Aadil Ahmed said modestly: “We feel there is still scope to improve.”

A new long-term deal has made the Post Office and Payzone the exclusive bill payments provider networks for British Gas and Scottish Gas customers. The contract takes effect from 1 January 2020. It follows PayPoint’s failure to negotiate a renewal of its deal with the energy supplier, which ends on 31 December. British Gas customers can already pay bills and top up prepay meters in Post Office branches. However, the new contract means customers will be able to undertake all over-the-counter bill payment services at the Post Office and Payzone’s 24,000 locations. The deal is the PO’s second significant contract win since its acquisition of the Payzone business; in May 2019 the combined networks won the contract for Scottish Power’s smart meter top ups.




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Special Offers

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out fo






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News Extra

Deposit Return Scheme | Wholesalers call for admin role

NewsExtra FORECOURTS FRONT AND CENTRE – P46 DEPOSIT RETURN SCHEME SWA calls for seat on DRS Administrator Board

Convenience Matters with the SGF November saw the beginning of Holyrood’s legislative process on a private members Bill to give shopworkers additional legal protection from physical assault. SGF has worked very closely with the author of the Bill, Daniel Johnson MSP, to draft the Bill, get it through the consultation phase and ensure the proposal attracted enough cross-party support. Since Daniel first proposed the Bill, we have consistently argued that it represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a safer in-store environment for staff and customers. We must begin to realise that convenience stores are becoming more stressful places to work. Government has placed more legislation and more mandatory duties on staff, particularly around ageverification and refusal of sale. Our own crime survey tells us that requests for identification and refusal of sale are two of the main triggers for conflict situations in-store. The Bill seeks to address these issues by making it an offence to assault or obstruct a shop worker when they are carrying out a mandatory duty. The Bill is being scrutinised by the Economy and Fair Work Committee and we are engaging directly with Committee MSPs to get their support and we need retailers to get on board in a big way and tell politicians that they must support the Bill. The case is a compelling one: why would lawmakers not want to create a safer working environment? Good legislation can make a real difference: we know how successful the Race Relations Act was in changing offensive behaviour. We hope that 2020 will see the Bill being passed and a real move towards safer work for convenience stores.



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WHOLESALERS DEMAND A SAY IN RUNNING THE DEPOSIT RETURN SCHEME As DRS moves ever closer, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Wholesale Association appeared before a Holyrood committee to argue that wholesalers should help administer the scheme. The Scottish Wholesale independent retailers and Association has called on 39,000 restaurants, pubs and the Scottish Government to clubs and can therefore play give it a place on the board a hugely important role in of the body that will oversee helping to identify fraud.” Scotland’s proposed Deposit The SWA also used Return Scheme (DRS). the opportunity to call for SWA boss Colin Smith the addition of a dispute made the request during a resolution mechanism into robust presentation to the the DRS proposals as well as Environment, Climate Change a formal means of ensuring and Land Reform Committee that the voices of those in the at Holyrood, demanding that supply chain that sit outwith the vital role the wholesale the Scheme Administrator channel will play within the are heard and taken into scheme is recognised. consideration. Colin Smith: demanded wholesale’s “vital As it is currently envisaged Smith concluded: “For the role” is recognised. by the Scottish Government, new DRS to work optimally the membership of the proposed Administrator in Scotland it must be as inclusive as possible and body includes only retailers, manufacturers and must take into account the interests and views of producers, something Smith views as unacceptable all of those in the wider supply chain who will be given the huge part the wholesale channel will play affected by the Scheme. Wholesalers in particular in the DRS. will be fundamental to the success of the Scheme He told the committee: “In our view, Board and this role should be recognised with formal SWA Membership [of the Administrator] should reflect membership of the Administrator.” the parts of the supply chain that are obligated It remains to be seen whether or not Smith’s call under DRS. falls on deaf ears. The Board composition proposed “Wholesalers are critical to the implementation by the Scottish government looks similar to the and success of DRS in Scotland and that vital long-established Norwegian model, where only role should be reflected with a position on the producers and businesses selling directly to the Administrator Board for the Scottish Wholesale public take part in administering DRS. Association as the lead body for Scotland’s In Norway, wholesalers can only participate if they wholesaling industry.” are part of a wider operation that has retail outlets, Smith also highlighted the fact that the wholesale so that could provide a way in for the likes of CJ association is the only pivotal part of the supply Lang, with its 113 company-owned stores. It would chain that is not compensated in any way under be a different picture for the vast majority of SWA current DRS proposals, either through a handling members. fee or as members of the Administrator. But that’s Norway. The decision lies with the He added: “Indeed, as the wheels of Scotland’s government here in Scotland and, if the shock food and drink industry the wholesale channel will inclusion of glass in the scheme is anything to go deliver DRS-obligated products to Scotland’s 4,972 by, anything can happen.

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It’s always fascinating to read the various submissions for our annual end-ofyear cover story where we ask the industry to whip out their crystal balls and give us a prediction for what the next year might bring. It’s a difficult enough task at the best of times – but I don’t think anyone could argue that right now is ‘the best of times’. First and foremost, trying to predict what even the next few weeks might bring is damned near impossible, never mind what the next 12 months will bring. A General Election and the unholy shambles that is Brexit have seen to that. So it’s genuinely interesting to hear how retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, industry bodies and academics are planning for next year with so little in the way of forward visibility. For many contributors, the only things that seem certain about 2020 are things that they believe are only going to make doing business even tougher: more wage rises, a ban on menthol cigarettes, preparation for the Deposit Return Scheme in 2021, the likelihood of new punitive legislation on HFSS products (high fat, sugar and salt), the chances of further marketing and communications restrictions in the vaping category – the list goes on. The pace of change over the last few years has unquestionably picked up and I don’t see that trend slowing any time soon. Convenience stores are more in the front line than they have ever been. Indeed, we are increasingly being asked – or, rather, forced – to become the front line policemen of the Scottish government’s relentless drive to deliver what it views as a better, healthier, more sustainable Scotland. But it’s local retailers who have had to police the smoking bans and the new alcohol rules. It’s local retailers that are having to cope with constant hikes in minimum wages that their businesses can’t afford. It’s local retailers that are going to have their stores turned upside down to make it more difficult (and expensive) for shoppers to buy food and drink deemed unhealthy. It’s local retailers that are going to have to provide the infrastructure for a nationwide recycling scheme. I’ve always argued that local retailers are fully behind all these commendable aims. Our stores have sat at the heart of communities for as long as anyone can remember and we have long had our customers’ interests at heart in a more profound way than any other channel. No, the problem I have is the way these initiatives are dumped on our heads without proper consultation around the impacts they have on our stores and on the long-term commercial viability of our sector. If only the government would occasionally demonstrate a willingness to work with us and listen to us, then perhaps we wouldn’t so often feel that they view us as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Maybe 2020 will see that relationship change for the better. Maybe.

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CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS Scottish Local Retailer is distributed free to qualifying readers. For a registration card, call 0141 222 5381. Other readers can obtain copies by annual subscription at £50 (UK), £62 (Europe airmail), £99 (Worldwide airmail). 55 North Ltd, Waterloo Chambers, 19 Waterloo Street, Glasgow, G2 6AY Tel: 0141 22 22 100 Fax: 0141 22 22 177 Website: Twitter: DISCLAIMER The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of 55 North Ltd. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the magazine has endevoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. Scottish Local Retailer is produced monthly by 55 North Ltd.




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Your Guide Through Change

20 MAY


What is the Menthol Ban?

It’s the next phase of the EUTPD2 legislation that first came into effect in May 2016. From 20th May 2020, all menthol and capsule cigarettes will be banned from sale.

Where should I go for support? JTI will support retailers via its sales force, providing updates and advice about the changes to the tobacco category, as well as with a dedicated Menthol Ban microsite due to be launched early next year. In addition, JTI confirms that post the menthol ban deadline, it will exchange non-compliant Menthol and Capsule stock held by all retailers who our reps visit on a regular basis. For now though, JTI’s advice is to rotate stock, maintain full range and availability in order to continue to benefit from the profitability of this category.

What should I do now? For now, it’s business as usual. Retailers should continue to ensure the basic principles of category management are put into practice and make certain that they and their staff are aware of the impending changes.

Communication is key Existing menthol and capsule cigarette smokers might have questions about the ban. Ensure staff are knowledgeable so that they are able to answer these questions with confidence.

Focus on competitive pricing Price will remain a key factor for existing adult smokers when choosing where to shop for tobacco. JTI recommends selling at RRP or below to maximise sales and avoid lost custom.

Maintain full availability and range The popularity for Menthol and Capsule segments continues to grow, with Capsule now responsible for 16.5% of total cigarette sales in the UK*, representing a key profit opportunity. Retailers should maintain full availability and range, stocking key brands, to ensure they meet the needs of their existing adult smokers pre-May 2020. *IRi Market Place, Volume Share, Total RMC, Total UK, June 2019.

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Cover Story

What’s In Store for 2020?


HOLD IN STORE FOR SCOTLAND’S It’s time once more for SLR’s annual vox pop from all four corners of the industry to find out what they think will be the important opportunities and challenges that lie ahead of us for 2020.

DAVID LONSDALE Director, Scottish Retail Consortium Forecasting is tricky at the best of times. What can be said with certainty however is that the prospects for retailers in 2020 will ultimately be determined by the state of the economy and by their own ability to adapt and seize on the opportunities that arise. The former will be greatly influenced by the outcome of the UK General Election, the impending UK and Scottish Budgets and how the politicians fund their promises, and the next steps with Brexit. If the next UK Government can command some sort of a Parliamentary working majority, and if the fog of Brexit lifts and reasonable certainty prevails, then there ought to be some renewed optimism on consumer spending. Employment levels remain high and real wage and population growth bode well and hold out the prospect of a better year ahead, after what has been a pretty tepid period for Scottish retail sales growth. Profound changes in shopping habits and the technology revolution are testing the business model of every retailer, and this won’t slow up. Indeed any uptick in spending on more discretionary items is likely to exacerbate that further, at least temporarily, given



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the high online penetration that already exists in such categories. Retailers who are fleet of foot and with a strong multi-channel offer and capability should be well placed to succeed. What is certain too is that retailers will continue to face a more interventionist and less permissive approach from policy makers. That will apply across areas from employment policy to issues such as the environment and health. It will challenge retailers’ ability to keep costs down for households at a time when margins will remain thin. However, there will be opportunities too, whether on better legal protections for shop workers, finally securing a level playing field with England on business rates, or the creation of a retail strategy for Scotland. Despite the economic and political headwinds there are grounds for cautious optimism – retailers’ ingenuity, resilience and determination is seeing them reinvent themselves for the future. The retail revolution will continue apace and no matter what is thrown its way the industry will adapt and overcome and play its role in driving forward Scotland’s economy.

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20 ? What’s In Store for 2020?

Cover Story


Chief Executive, Scottish Grocers’ Federation 2020 is set to be another challenging year for retailers with so much uncertainty ahead around the effects of the forthcoming General Election and of course Brexit, which is unlikely to be resolved in any meaningful way in the short term unless one party secures a big majority. Next year is also a big year for new legislation for SGF and the industry, not least thanks to the huge amount of preparation work that will be required next year to get the Deposit Return Scheme set up in time for the 2021 implementation date. SGF sits on the Implementation Group and will continue to do all we can to represent the interests of our Members. Unquestionably a large part of next year will be taken up with lobbying the Scottish Government on this issue. Another significant lobbying challenge will be around the HFSS (High Fat, Sugar & Salt) legislation which is set to have a massive impact on the local retailing trade. It will fundamentally change how retailers can merchandise many products in their stores and where they can site them. The Scottish Government now seems to be telling us how to run our own businesses and SGF will be fighting them every step of the way on behalf of our Members. We’re also facing new energy drinks legislation – despite the fact that many convenience stores have

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followed a voluntary code prohibiting sales to under 16s for years – and the wider sustainability issue will also have a much bigger impact on how we operate our businesses in 2020. Legislation surrounding the vaping and CBD categories is another major issue for next year with a proposed tightening of the marketing and advertising of these products potentially set to force vapers back to cigarettes, even though it’s widely accepted by important objective bodies like Public Health England that vaping is 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco. This debate will potentially be intensified by the ban of menthol tobacco products in May next year. As for CBD, it’s one area where our industry would potentially welcome more legislation in order to strip out some of the less legitimate CBD businesses that are muddying the waters in what could be a very important category for our sector. The cumulative cost and burden of the never-ending legislation is having a massive impact on our business. It is time that different departments within government did some joined up thinking and an analysis to work out the impact of continued legislation on convenience retail. One thing is for sure: 2020 won’t be dull!



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Cover Story

What’s In Store for 2020?

COLIN SMITH Chief Executive, Scottish Wholesale Association As SWA enters its celebratory 80th year, 2020 will be our year to celebrate. A time to celebrate a calendar of events designed in conjunction with our supplier members to showcase how wholesalers can harness the opportunity that the sustainability and environmental challenge offers them and their customers. We will celebrate enhancing our people and their digital skills with the first phase of our new Training Academy, initially focusing on younger workers and skilling new recruits entering our industry. This will develop throughout 2020 to include supervisors and middle managers. We will celebrate the high profile of SWA, our sector and our members that we’ve strengthened within Holyrood during 2019. This has enabled us to make our voices louder than ever as we work with the Scottish Government on the next round of HFSS (High Fat, Sugar & Salt) consultations, the Circular Economy Bill, the National Living Wage, Local Enterprise Zones and any new election pledges that impact Scottish wholesalers, suppliers and customers.

As retail and foodservice markets continue to merge, let’s celebrate our collaborative efforts with industry partners. Projects such as the National Food Tourism Strategy and work with the seafood industry have ensured that SWA is helping create new opportunities that will enable our members to ride the economic challenges ahead. It’s clear however that 2020 will start off the same unpredictable way that 2019 will end with Brexit and DRS high on that agenda. Let’s celebrate that January and March we will hopefully have some financial clarity on what both will look like and we can start shaping our businesses for the future. Let’s celebrate too that in 2020, whatever the challenges, whatever the opportunities, SWA will continue supporting our members with guidance, lobbying and ultimately a strength in membership. A strong, skilled, knowledgeable and opportunistic wholesale sector means a strong, skilled, knowledgeable and opportunistic retail sector.

JIM ECCLESTON Managing Partner, 56 Degrees Insight Our research identifies four specific challenges likely to face the Scottish convenience store sector in 2020:

BLAKE GLADMAN Strategy & Insight Director, KAM Media In a short space of time the value of the ‘low & no’ category has grown rapidly and I see it being a major category in 2020. In the off trade in the past year, £43m was spent on low/no-alcohol beers, for example, and we’re also seeing a rapid growth in demand for low and non-alcoholic versions of spirits and wines. The low & no category is being driven by growing trends of ‘tee-totalism’ and consumers looking to reduce their alcohol consumption for health reasons. KAM Media research showed that 2 in 5 18-24-yearolds describe themselves as teetotal; more than twice the number of UK adults in general. Knowledge of this relatively unknown category is currently limited across the convenience retail channel. However, I believe it hits a potential sweet spot for the channel. We already know that awareness and demand for health and well-being products is now a mainstream trend across UK consumers, but couple this with the heritage for small format retailers being the ‘go-to’ channel for alcohol and soft drinks and you can start to see the opportunity that this could provide. Distress purchases, entertaining and meal for tonight are just some of the key shopper missions which are the heartland of the convenience store and the low & no category fits snuggly into these shopping trips whilst helping to future-protect them for retailers in 2020 and beyond. In summary, the growing demand for a decent low & no range is not going away and it should be an area which the convenience channel sees as an opportunity to be ahead of the curve and create a real point of difference.



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Q Health & Wellbeing:The search for the healthier option will be a continuing trend in 2020. Scots are increasingly likely to pay attention to ingredients – not just calorific content but artificial flavourings, sugar and unsaturated fat. When it comes to alcohol, the recent Minimum Unit Pricing legislation is delivering a reduction in volume of take-home alcohol bought overall, and drinkers paying more for what they do imbibe. In 2020, the non-alcoholic and low alcohol sector will continue to grow at a faster rate than elsewhere in Britain, as a growing proportion of the population looks to moderate their drinking habits. Q Sustainability and environmental issues: As consumers become ever more aware of the environmental impact of their choices, packaging is increasingly recyclable. C-stores have an opportunity given the growing consumer desire for plastic-free fruit and vegetable aisles and a move to paper bags instead of plastic. Q Provenance: knowing where your food and drink comes from and how it is produced is increasingly important to Scots consumers. Telling the story of the product on packaging and display materials will become increasingly common next year as brands seek to develop an interest and intrigue. This approach can highlight the provenance of the product in an engaging way which can appeal to the consumer – with display opportunities to be had for the convenience store. Q ‘Scottishness’ and importance of locality: National identity has always been important to Scots and manifests itself in food and drink branding too. We recently undertook research which explored how Scots felt when faced with a direct choice of two identical food items – one with a UK flag and labelled ‘100% British product’ and the other with a Scottish flag and labelled ‘100% Scottish product’. The value of Scottish branding was clear: 56% would choose the product branded ‘Scottish’ whereas only 4% would choose the ‘British’ labelling. This has implications about how products are displayed and promoted in store to maximise their appeal.

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18+ Contains Nicotine















*RRP £6.50 per can effective 6th June 2019. Retailers are free at all times to sell JTI products at whatever price they choose. NICOTINE IS AN ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCE

SLR December 2019.indd 17

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Cover Story

What’s In Store for 2020?

JOHN PATTERSON Sales Director, JUUL Labs UK Grasping the vaping opportunity will be key for Scotland’s local retailers in the year to come. Despite 26% year on year category growth, independent and symbol retailers are still playing catch-up. Vape sales in independent retailers grew 28.8% over the past year – beating their symbol counterparts who achieved growth of 22.8% – but still lagged behind the multiple channel which posted 37% growth and a total category growth of 31.8% in traditional retail according to IRI. Together independents and symbols have a combined 28.2% of the traditional retail sector. Multiple retailers continue to have the majority of vaping sales with a market share of 62%. Over the same period, closed pod systems have increased their share of the total market from 12.5% to 31.6% while liquids – although still in growth – have seen their overall share decline from 47.7% to 39.6%. Despite solid growth this year, the independent and convenience channels are still underperforming. This signposts the huge potential for growth still to come within the category and for the channel. Although independents were slower to see the potential of closed pod vaping systems, they are now catching up. This time last year, closed systems accounted for just over 6% of all vaping sales in c-stores. That figure is now over 28%. Although open systems still dominate the

sector and should be a major part of any vape offer, the gap is narrowing rapidly as closed pods become the system of choice for adult smokers looking to switch. One of the main reasons the multiples are pulling ahead is that they embraced closed pod systems earlier and closed systems now outperform open system sales in their stores. Closed pod systems are driving 80% of the total market growth in traditional retail and although independents have 28% of this sector, if we include specialist vape and online stores, their combined vape share is around 12%. The opportunity lies in these stores getting the same share of vape as they have in tobacco – roughly 45%. Adult smokers looking to switch expect to see smoking alternatives in the stores where they buy tobacco. By providing a credible vaping solution with simple, convenient closed pod systems at its heart, independents can retain these customers instead of pushing them into other channels. The good news is that there is still fantastic headroom for growth as 60% of the UK’s seven million adult smokers want to quit and see vaping as the preferred method to begin their switching journey.

AMY BURGESS Senior Trade Communications Manager, Coca-Cola European Partners The soft drinks category has performed incredibly well in 2019. It is now worth £8.5bn [Nielsen, Sep 2019] and continues to grow suggesting that it will be a hugely important category for retailers again in 2020. As part of our Total Beverage Company Vision we are committed to evolving our portfolio to reach more consumers, on more occasions, in turn providing convenience stores with more opportunities to increase their sales. In 2020 we expect to see the demand for low and no sugar products increase across different sectors, including colas. Diet Coke remains the most popular light cola brand in GB , with a value of more than £464m, while Coca-Cola zero sugar is growing significantly, currently up 28.9% in value in GB, which we expect to continue into 2020. We will also continue our ongoing efforts to offer more low-calorie options to our consumers across different categories and occasions. With 40% of convenience store shoppers rating a range of healthy products as important [HIM CTP, 2018], it is vital for us to introduce even more low and no sugar variants across different formats for consumers to enjoy. Shoppers are becoming more adventurous and are looking to experiment with new and exciting variants of their favourite soft drinks. More than a third of shoppers (35%) [HIM CTP, 2018] agree that they like trying new things when grocery shopping, so retailers should keep an eye out for the latest soft drink flavour innovations launching in 2020. The success of our 2019 NPD, including Fanta Zero Grape, which is now is now worth nearly £5m according to Nielsen, and the latest additions to our Light Colas portfolio, Diet Coke Twisted Strawberry and Coca-Cola zero sugar Raspberry, shows that consumer demand for flavour innovation in our low-sugar soft drinks portfolio remains high. We will also continue to explore ways we can reach new consumers by expanding our brands into different segments and occasions. This year has seen us launch our Monster Brand into the RTD coffee section with Espresso Monster, which is now worth £3m, and Coca-Cola enter the energy segment for the first time in its history with Coca-Cola Energy, the number three soft drink launch of 2019 to date. We will look at new emerging trends in 2020 to see how we can diversify our brands to meet the latest consumer demands.”



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LEIGH SPARKS Professor for Retail Studies, University of Stirling Locally based consumerfocused retailing is still very much in demand. Yet, the challenges are considerable and will continue to grow in 2020. The specificity of local convenience stores can be challenged by new stores, and operators such as Aldi are experimenting with convenience-sized local operations. Competition has not gone away, it has changed. Secondly, the cost base is a challenge. Convenience stores may gain from rates relief, but as a physical operator, employing significant numbers of people, costs and taxes which are more easily applied to these characteristics continue to grow. Is it too much to hope from Westminster and Holyrood that these policies be thought through from the viewpoint of valuing employers who require space and put people at the heart of communities rather than from that of an automated, distant fulfilment centre? Thirdly, convenience stores are in the firing line for the changing expectations of consumers and governments. Some of this is positive in that local and personal has become a positive in retail. But, especially in Scotland, what we expect from convenience retailers has changed. From tobacco control and promotional restrictions on alcohol to possible restrictions on ‘unhealthy’ foods and with minimum unit pricing and deposit return schemes also to contend with, the nature of retail operations is altering. The focus on healthy living and sustainability is not a bad thing for 2020 but it does require adaptation and change, and this can be tough to get right, especially in smaller operations. Only time will tell if my 2020 vision was perfect or clouded. Convenience stores, especially those embedded in the local community have a great future, but it is hard won, and that is not about to change in 2020.

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Cover Story

What’s In Store for 2020?

JAMES BIELBY TOM FENDER Development Director, The Whole Sale Company (TWC) The annual ‘new trends next year’ articles typically focus on new foods we’re allegedly going to be eating (but often don’t), the latest names of consumer groups to target, or revolutionary technologies which will improve our lives. All of these are valid. The world changes and we must all change with it. But there is one area which I don’t believe has had much attention in the convenience sector to date… but it’s a potential game-changer… and that area is: data. When the directors of Dunnhumby presented the results of their three-month pilot of gathered shopper data to the Board of Tesco in 1994, a deathly silence apparently fell across the Boardroom… until Lord Ian Maclaurin (Chairman) declared in a rather annoyed and terse tone: “You know more about my shoppers in 12 weeks than I know about them after over a decade of running this business.” Now, I don’t mean to be controversial at this festive time of the year but when I hear businesses big and small say they “know their customers”, I reflect on the fact that I have sat in at least 1,000 presentations or meetings about ‘the customer’ where knowledge on ‘the customer’ is actually quite sparse. I think we want to think we know the customer. But the reality is, most of us know some customers, some of the time. But often decisions are made without robust data to make a fully informed decision. As Sherlock Holmes said: “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.” Without data, businesses are blind and deaf and in the middle of a motorway. If the convenience sector is to stay ahead of the competition in 2020, we will need to start using the ‘goldmine’ of data we sit on. I don’t believe many businesses in the sector are doing this. How many Chief Data Officers exist in the UK convenience sector? Will this be the next big job function in our industry? Wholesalers have an opportunity to become datadriven organisations to support their independent retailers. Retailers can use data to understand what’s working, and what’s not on their smartphones or laptops. Data can report performance by SKU, by store, by region, by time of day, and by day of the week. Sales figures can be merged with a host of other data sets to inform management and indicate how to improve performance. Organisations who use data well perform better than the organisations who don’t. For me, it’s the companies who utilise and exploit their data as central to their digital engine room will be the big winners in 2020 and beyond… because data is the new oil.



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Chief Executive, Federation of Wholesale Distributors FWD has identified six priorities for the new Government to address in 2020 which will protect the profitability of the wholesale sector and the 450,000 retail and catering businesses it supplies and supports. These include pushing for a comprehensive, frictionless trade deal after Brexit which keeps tariffs or trade barriers to a minimum, showing restraint on National Living Wage increases, and introducing further measures to tackle alcohol duty fraud and sugar tax evasion. With packaging producer responsibility rules likely to be under review in a new parliament, FWD asks the new Government to maintain the current exemption for distributors, without which its members would see cost increases of up to 300%. It also believes that mandatory allergens database is necessary to guarantee consumers access to full and accurate information on the potentially harmful ingredients in the food they purchase. Following a decline in police response to incidents at members’ premises, which has led to tobacco and alcohol products being stolen from customers and distributed illegally, FWD calls on the Home Office to commit greater resources to prevent crime and prosecute criminals who target wholesalers and their customers. We are asking for a fair playing field for this vital industry which supports public services, small businesses and remote communities. For wholesalers to thrive, legislation that affects them must be effective, it must be achievable, and it must be proportionate. We are therefore asking the Government to join us in ensuring that future policy enables the sector to grow, thrive and importantly support our workforces, customers and communities.”

ED SIBLEY Commercial Director, HIM The convenience channel is undeniably growing (up 3.5% YoY in 2019), but at the same time the grocery landscape continues to evolve rapidly, especially with traditional footfall drivers. This serves to highlight the importance of retailers being adaptable to changing consumer needs to stay in business. Technology is transforming the sector, albeit in pockets rather than unilaterally. Innovations like self-service checkouts are gradually becoming more mainstream but won’t suit all stores. The arrival of the online delivery specialists like Deliveroo presents a fantastic opportunity for the sector, which should be embraced. Food-to-go is the elephant in the room. It is undoubtedly a key driver of footfall across the wider market, but despite significant investment in range, refrigeration and marketing, the convenience channel is not growing overall share due to stiff competition from specialist foodservice operators. However, coffee-to-go is a booming trade. It is also a great gateway into food-to-go for retailers who don’t want to commit fully to the breakfast and lunchtime meal occasions. Looking forward, declining levels of alcohol consumption are giving deserved limelight to the innovative ‘low 2 no’ category. This is an area where c-stores must lead and become first choice for consumers looking for an alternative to traditional soft drink or BWS products. There are many other manifestations of the mega-trend of health – ranging from the increasing interest in CBD (and its apparent health benefits) to the potentially huge vaping market in the future. The convenience market has never been a one size fits all model, but it is more important than ever to embrace the cliché of understanding your customer of 2020, which is likely to be very different to the shopper of five years ago.

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Cover Story

What’s In Store for 2020?

TRULS HAUG UK Managing Director, TOMRA Plans for a deposit return scheme (DRS) for Scotland have gathered significant pace over the last year and we can expect even more momentum as we move into 2020. The results of the DRS consultation showed there is undoubtedly an appetite for an ambitious, “world class” scheme. Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham answered a myriad of questions on the practicalities of scheme – which could be implemented as soon as spring 2021 – when she addressed the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee recently. She acknowledged the scheme would mean significant change but reminded the committee that many other countries have successfully delivered it and overcome the challenges. TOMRA can certainly testify to that – we

operate in markets across the globe and have seen an array of different models being brought in. When we speak to retailers their questions are mostly around space, cost and the materials that will be included. The good news is that there are a range of solutions out there for all store sizes, enabling retailers to be ready for the implementation of the final DRS design. The year ahead will bring more answers on the specifics of the scheme and we are excited to see the final regulations when they are published. There is no doubt that sustainability and recycling will continue to be a hot topic for consumers in 2020. Scottish retailers will want to be talking about the significant contribution to sustainability they already make and how an ambitious DRS will push that claim even further.

MOHAMMED SARWAR Blairgowrie Post Office

ADBUL MAJID Retailer, Nisa Local Bellshill As another challenging year draws to a close there have been occasions when fleetingly, the thoughts of retirement have crossed my mind. The prospect of more time with Mrs Majid and all the jobs need doing around the house made me realise maybe things in retail aren’t as bad as I think! However, things are looking up as my son Umar joined the business this year and was the inspiration in driving our fresh food offer and the recently completed store refit. So, for the first time in a while, I look forward to a brighter future in 2020. The challenges enveloping our industry remain and increase with every passing year. Whereas those of my age may reflect on a long-gone golden era of retail but what of those now at start of their careers? They may look back at this time as their golden era. Perspective is everything. I am now being constantly challenged on my way of doing things, challenged on what we stock and even where it is sited within the store. Have I been too loyal to brands no longer deserving the same commitments of the past? Food is the future. Our future lies in delivering fresh, high quality, great value food. Maybe a little bit of old school retailing will survive but hey, I’m no longer handcuffed to the past. This son of mine’s energy is infectious, and I very much look forward to a new era in our store. We’ll be concentrating on the things we can control and not worrying about those we can’t!



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There are around 1,400 convenience stores in Scotland with a Post Office and that number will only rise in 2020 as more and more retailers switch on to the benefits of providing a service that puts their shop at the heart of the community. Customers can already access the widest range of life’s essentials at the Post Office – Royal Mail and Parcelforce services for posting locally or abroad and sending or collecting parcels; banking on behalf of the UK’s high street bank accounts for business and personal customers; holiday money, passport renewals, travel insurance and International Driving Permit applications, plus Post Office make it easy to pay all sorts of bills including utilities, phone, and council tax. That list gets bigger on New Year’s Day, when a new contract with British Gas means its customers will be able to undertake all over-the-counter bill payment services at Post Offices. All of those reasons are probably why, according to HIM research, 93% of shoppers are more likely to use a store because it has a Post Office, and 68% began using a store when it added one. Kantar research shows that shoppers spent an average of £8.16 on shopping while on a Post Office mission. For retailers interested in driving their business forward in 2020, the Post Office provides everything you need to get up and running; it’ll train you and your staff, and a business support manager will be on hand for your first six months. After that it provides support online, by phone and during area manager visits. On top of that, the fees postmasters get for providing PO services in their branches in 2020/21 will be 10% higher than in 2018/19. A Post Office is suitable for all types of convenience store, CTNs and forecourts. Premises need to have easy access and enough space for the counter. All business opportunities are on the Run a Post Office website. It also recruits retailers to run branches in new locations where there isn’t currently a Post Office. It has some non-compete supplier relationships, and you’ll need to integrate the Post Office into your retail business. There is no franchise fee involved. The Post Office supplies and fits all equipment and signage, and delivers stock and cash. There’s also no fixed term contract to worry about, although retailers are expected to be fully committed to the benefits they’ll bring to their local community when taking on a Post Office.

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Whatever you have in store for 2020, the key to running a successful convenience store is community engagement. The Healthy Living Programme is perfectly placed to help you create the initial links to achieve this! Did you know that we have now spoken with over 15,000 school pupils through our events and many of the major symbol groups in Scotland have now run one with us.

Next year is set to be another exciting one for The Healthy Living Programme with the launch of our new Welby Loyalty Club which we are currently trialling with KeyStore. Watch out for exciting changes in 2020!!

Please get in touch to find out how you we could work with you to engage with your local community. You can contact us through Facebook or by calling us on 0131 343 3300.

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Cover Story

What’s In Store for 2020? | Mondelez International


SLR catches up with Phil Burch, Customer Category Development Controller at Mondelēz International, to hear how he thinks 2020 will pan out for local retailers and the categories that Mondelēz plays in. HOW WAS 2019 FOR MONDELĒZ? As a business we have invested to deliver a plethora of innovations throughout 2019, which has helped drive category growth. We started the year with the launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo Treasures and Cadbury Bournville Buttons, tapping into the needs of our consumers. One iconic launch for this year was Cadbury Dairy Milk with 30% Less Sugar, which landed in July. Our research and innovation teams have spent years developing and fine-tuning lower sugar recipes that still taste great. belVita Chocolate Chip 30% Less Sugar and Maynards Bassetts 30% Less Sugar are also available now, to enable retailers offer lower sugar choices within snacks. More recently, we introduced a recycling campaign called ‘Be a Good Egg’ which you’ll see on pack formats in stores next Easter, designed to help broaden awareness and educate consumers on the need to recycle.

HOW WERE SALES LAST YEAR? During 2019, we’ve continued to see snack sales out-pace the total food and drink market, enhancing the importance of stocking the category. Seasonal sales have been buoyant and the biscuit category is in growth, but there are opportunities within convenience – such as breakfast biscuits.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR SUCCESS STORIES? Cadbury Darkmilk was introduced in late 2018 and is now worth over £10m. This launch was based on consumer insight, showing a demand for a creamier tasting choice within dark chocolate. Made with 40% cocoa, Darkmilk is the richest, creamiest bar Cadbury has ever made and definitely meets consumer needs! 24


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We have seen shoppers trading-up in the biscuit category as consumers look for treats that they really enjoy. Oreo and Cadbury Biscuits, which provide the taste consumers know and love, also continue to perform well.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE CATEGORIES DEVELOPING IN 2020? We see both the on-the-go occasion and the trend of trading-up continuing into 2020, while consumers continue to want to balance their lifestyles with great-tasting treats. What support have you offered to independents in the past year? We’ve offered great new products and marketing that taps into the latest consumer trends, that retailers can really trust to help them grow their sales. We also have one of the largest sales forces in the UK, as well as dedicated trade website and a comprehensive range of POS for our brands is also available for use in stores.

WHAT WILL BE NEXT YEAR’S KEY ISSUES FACING INDEPENDENTS? It’s a constantly changing environment, with the only guarantee being that change will continue. However, impulse retailers can be dynamic, staying up to date with the changes in consumer needs and acting fast if action is required. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE RETAILERS FOR 2020? Q Stock a full confectionery range: covering singles, duos, blocks, bags and gifting, focusing on best sellers. Q Include ‘less-sugar’ and sugar-free lines, which don’t compromise on great taste. Q When it comes to biscuits, don’t forget cereal bars and breakfast biscuits. belVita breakfast biscuits have a 60% repeat rate, so are an important part of a retailer’s offering. Q Focus on product placement. Breakfast lines can enhance your morning offering when placed near a coffee machine. Visit for POS and a dispenser. Q Make use of manufacturers’ POS and category advice and combine with your local knowledge. Q Make a fast start on seasons – Be ready for Easter on 1 January!

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Here for the future A Post Office in your store means services when and where customers want them. Products like mail, banking and bill payments, which are essential to the local economy, put you at the heart of the community and make your store a destination of choice.


of shoppers said they are more likely to choose a store because it has a Post Office.

1 in 3 Post Office users buy three or more items in the shop. (HIM Research 2018)

(HIM Research 2018)

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Bringing you more customers with money to spend Our shop benefited from the migration of the Post Office customers, and being open later brings in new people, so we’re really busy all the time. We stock a huge variety of food and deli products, so Post Office is a perfect addition.” Donna Morgan Biggar Post Office, Brownlies of Biggar, South Lanarkshire

We tripled our footfall in the first two weeks of opening the Post Office. It’s such a well-known, trusted brand – people like to shop where there’s a Post Office.” Mital Chirag Mayfair News & Shepherd Market Post Office

Want to find out more? Visit SLR December 2019.indd 27

04/12/2019 14:57:05 03/07/2019 16:43



Coke helps homeless with truck tour Coca-Cola partnered with charity


Crisis for this year’s annual Truck Tour. The soft drinks giant donated 10p for each can recycled by visitors at the tour, with funds going to help people out of homelessness. The initiative also encourages recycling as part of Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste goal to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one sold by 2025 in Western Europe.

Meatless Farm names new head R&D boffin British plant-based company, The Meatless Farm, has appointed a new Head of Research & Development to grow and develop its product portfolio. Dr Peter Hynes joins with over 11 years’ experience in the R&D sector, with six years at Unilever, where he was a lead in Consumer Insights and NPD. His knowledge of the sector will help expand the company’s offer, which currently includes mince, burgers and sausages.

WHAT XXXXXXXXXXXX DO ADULTS DRINK WHEN THEY’RE NOT DRINKING? – P60 FOOD-TO-GO Bakery specialist launches three new concepts for c-stores

Delice de France bakes up new convenience ranges Bakery specialist Delice de France treats. It too is geared at a pairing has unveiled plans for three new with premium coffee. Q Delice Direct – a frozen bakery retail concepts exclusively for the solution for retailers without ovens convenience channel, with the that offers a range of premium intention of cashing-in on emerging bake-at-home products including trends in the UK’s food and drink to speciality breads, viennoiserie, go market. pastries and cookies. Launching from spring 2020, the new ranges are: Jenny Bayliss: “confident” Q Delice To Go – a dedicated food-toThe launch will be supported with go solution for consumers on the tailored point-of-sale material and move, with a focus on healthier options including field-based sales support. vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free products. It will Jenny Bayliss, Sales Operations Director at Delice offer a mid-market price point for consumers, de France, commented: “We’re confident that our with strong retailer margins. It can be paired with new retail concepts will provide retailers with the a premium coffee offering to maximise returns. product range and quality they need to strengthen Q Petit Delice – an in-store bakery solution their food-to-go offer.” comprising classic bakery items focusing on For more information on the new Delice de speciality breads, viennoiserie and sweet bakery France concepts call 0844 499 3311.


Crimbo Juice launch is a drag act to follow Shopping in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street proved a drag las month when Barr Soft Drinks unleashed the Three Wise Queens of Christmas on unsuspecting punters to celebrate the launch of IrnBru Crimbo Juice. The queens – Frankie, 24 Carat Goldie and Myriam – handed out samples of “a taste of Christmas in a bottle” and gave tips to members of the public to help them spice up their festive season.



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Rabbits rampant in Nestlé’s spring range Nestlé has unveiled its

GROCERY Bisto’s Community Table competition returns

It’s all gravy for Premier

Easter 2020

Premier Foods hopes to bring people together with the return of its Bisto Community Table competition, which will see one lucky retailer win a fully funded catered meal for their community. Launched last year, the competition aims to bring retailers and their shoppers closer together and build community spirit. It coincides with the return of the Bisto brand to UK screens this winter, as demand for gravy peaks during the colder months. The winner’s lunch or dinner will take place at a local

consists of five different-

community venue in January. In addition, the winner will also receive five cases of Bisto gravy. To enter, send a postcard with their name, store name, store address, fascia (if applicable) and telephone number to: Bisto Community Table, c/o Cirkle, 27 London End, Beaconsfield, HP9 2HN. Entries close at 11.59pm on 17 December 2019. Last year’s winning retailer Samir Patel said: “Almost all of my customers are the same, day in day out, and you realise that some people are lonely,

collection, headlined by a new range of novelties from Smarties. New Smarties Bunnies coloured characters made of a chocolate shell with mini Smarties inside. A range of sizes includes impulse 18.5g (RSP 65p), impulse multipack (RSP £2), small novelty 50g (RSP £1.49) and medium novelty 94g (RSP £2.49). The Bunny Family Gift Pack contains one 94g

Last year’s winner Samir Patel

bunny and three 18.5g impulse bunnies (RSP £3.99). Stock is

particularly the older generation. It was great, with the support of Bisto, to see them chat and have fun with other people.”

available from 16 December. The Mini Eggs category will see the launch of Aero Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs (RSP £1). New to giant eggs this year is the Milkybar Mix Ups Giant Egg


(RSP £7.49).

Petits Filous goes outdoors for on-pack promo

Aero will introduce the brand

Petits Filous has teamed up with children’s outdoor clothing brand Muddy Puddles for an on-pack promotion that aims to encourage families to learn new ways to play outdoors. The promo runs across the brand’s core range until 31 December. It follows a Petits Filous survey which investigated how often children play and explore outside. Every pack gives shoppers the chance to win a £50 Muddy Puddles voucher via the Petits Filous website, where they can also access ideas on keeping kids busy.

Scotland’s Speciality Food Show

In the premium eggs category new Aero Bliss premium egg (RSP £10). Other eggs in Nestlé’s range include the Milkybar small egg (RSP £1.73) as well as medium and large eggs from Kitkat Chunky and Smarties. These both RSP at £2.92 and £5.41 respectively.

19-21 January 2020 SEC Glasgow

Taste & Discover Something New

Over 175 suppliers with hundreds of great food and drink products for the speciality retailer.

For further details please visit

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Spar uncorks trio of new vegan-friendly wines Spar has launched Vine &


Bloom, a new range of veganfriendly wines. The range has been developed in collaboration with Spar’s supplier Cantina di Sociale Soave. It includes a Pinot Grigio, a Merlot and a Rosé. The Vine & Bloom range RSPs at £6.50 and is on promotion at £5.50 until the end of January. It is the first Spar wine range to highlight its vegan friendly credentials on the front label.

Cryptodram anyone? William Grant is claiming a world first for its launch of a blockchain whisky, under its premium Ailsa Bay brand. The blockchain technology means consumers can now trace the origins of their dram by scanning a QR code on the label, thus ensuring authenticity and traceability, and eliminating the possibility of counterfeit bottles being sold in stores. Ailsa Bay’s 70cl blockchain whisky (RSP £55) is available now.

Plymouth does it ‘proper’

CASH IN ON LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS SALES – P55 GIN The future’s Bright for additive-free spirits

Natural flavours to the fore for Bright’s new gin range New supplier Bright Spirits has launched its first range of gins, called Pips, Peels and Roots, to the UK’s off-trade. Pips Gin is distilled with a mixture of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries to yield a naturally sweet and tangy gin. Peels Gin is distilled with Amalfi lemon, crushed Key lime and yuzu citrus, creating a zesty gin with a citrus kick. Lastly, Roots Gin is distilled with ginger, grains of paradise and angelica root, resulting in a sweet and spicy flavour.

No syrups or other artificial additives are used in the distilling process; the range was developed as an answer to the growing demand of consumers looking

for a natural alternative to the flavoured gins currently available. Iain McClune, Bright Spirits boss, said: “Our rule is: if it isn’t natural, it’s not going in.” The launch is supported by social media activity. POS materials and digital assets are also available to retailers. Pips, Peels and Roots (all ABV 40%) have an RSP of £36.95 for a 70cl bottle. A 20cl fractional is also available. For sales enquiries call 0741 807 8249 or email fabio.

Pernod Ricard brand Plymouth Gin has launched a new marketing campaign that brings to life the South West’s approach to doing things ‘Proper’. The campaign runs throughout December and will reach 3.5 million of the brand’s target audience of “explorers” with a mixture of out-of-home, print, digital and social activity. Pernod Ricard predicts 2019 will be a third gin-dominated Christmas.

Heineken cuts plastic use Heineken UK is eliminating plastic rings and shrink wrapping from its entire portfolio of beer and cider multi-pack cans, removing 517 tonnes of plastic annually from the supply chain. The April 2020 move takes in Heineken, Foster’s and Kronenbourg 1664 multi-pack cans. This will be followed by all Heineken brands in multi-pack cans, including Strongbow, Bulmer’s and John Smith’s by



White Heron wades further into liqueur market

Nisa wraps up I heart Spirits deal

White Heron Drinks has launched new British Framboise Raspberry Liqueur, available through distributor Love Drinks. The younger sibling of White Heron’s award-winning British Cassis, the Framboise is made with Herefordshire raspberries using classic winemaking techniques. Once the raspberry juice has fermented naturally with champagne yeast, it is blended with a little vodka to fortify and sweeten, in order to accentuate the flavours before bottling. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians, British Framboise Raspberry Liqueur is available now in 500ml bottles (ABV 15%) with an RSP of £20. For more information, retailers should call Love Drinks on 0207 501 9630, email or visit

Just in time for Christmas, the new I heart Spirits range is now available exclusively to Nisa retailers. Full launch activity for the range, which comprises I heart Gin and I heart Pink Gin, will kick in towards the end of January in preparation for Valentine’s Day. I heart Wines said this was the “perfect moment” to introduce I heart Spirits, as “the Spirits category has now become as complex and crowded as Wine once was”. Nisa’s Wholesale Category Controller for Spirits Scott Parker commented: “As we approach Christmas, people are beginning to store away gifts and stock up their cupboards, so we think this gin-credible exclusive will increase footfall and basket spend significantly for our retailers.”




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News& Magazines ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS... – P62 NEWSPAPERS Scottish Sun pays tribute to category champions

THE BEST OF SCOTLAND’S NEWSAGENTS RECOGNISED The Sun has recognised four Scottish newsagents within its Top 50 Retailers in the UK for championing the news category and launching charitable community initiatives.

SCOTLAND’S TOP STORES WERE: 1) J&R McInnes, Dalry Dalry newsagent Pauline Devlin’s daughters Rebecca and Jessica have collected over 10,000 of The Sun’s Books for Schools tokens to help children and schools in the local area. They put a voucher drop box on the counter and encouraged all customers to pop their vouchers in it. They even convinced non-Sun buyers to purchase the newspaper and donate their tokens. As a result, they were able to help three local schools. 2) Premier Broadway Convenience, Edinburgh Linda and Dennis Williams, owners of Premier Broadway Convenience Store, have a long track record of engaging with their Oxgangs community in Edinburgh. So when they heard about a local resident who had a heart attack, they took the decision to support the local community by having a defibrillator fitted outside the store. Dennis said: “Even if we could only save one life, then it would be well worth it.”

Scotland’s biggest selling newspaper, The Scottish Sun, has surprised four of its top Scottish newsagents by naming them in The Sun’s Top 50 Retailers in the UK. The four retailers were recognised for their commitment to the category, for championing The Sun brand and for launching charitable initiatives to improve the lives of people in their communities. The four retailers were all named in the top 15 of The Sun’s 50 Top newsagents and received a surprise visit from The Scottish Sun bus, a full Sun re-brand including new Sun fascias and fittings along with a £250 donation to a charity of their choice.

The Top 50 Retailer campaign is marking The Sun’s 50th birthday along with a £1m year-long charity reader fund as the title celebrates “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”. News UK Head of Retail Marketing Chris Hughes said selecting a top 50 from 52,000 hard-working retailers was no easy task. He added: “The Sun 50 campaign, and its reader fund, is celebrating ordinary people doing extraordinary things and that’s exactly what our retailers have done. These retailers have all been champions of The Sun brand and proved to be a bastion of the local community. Thank you for all that you do.”

3) A Johnston & Sons, Dundee Muhammad Abid’s new-look store is one of the bestperforming independent newstrade stores in Scotland and continues to champion The Sun brand. His staff are happy to deliver to the homes of elderly customers, and raise thousands for charity each year. Fittingly, the £250 cheque for being one of the Sun’s Top 50 newsagents across the UK will go to three old folk’s homes near the store. 4) News Direct/Bridgend News, West Lothian Ian Morgan’s team – including 74-year-old paper ‘boy’ Peter McKay – start delivering the Scottish Sun at four o’clock in the morning, when his shop and distribution centre opens. The cheque will be spent helping to improve the Bridgend area around the store. Ian said: “I love what I do. It’s more of a vocation, rather than a job. We deliver over a thousand copies of the Sun each week.”


The next Tom Cruise? Not many people know that Hollywood actor Tom Cruise’s first job was as a paperboy aged 13. One youngster fully aware of that fact, however, is 16-year-old teenage actor Liam Scobie who is already following in the footsteps of the Mission Impossible star by working as a paperboy for the Sinclair Barr newsagents, in Glasgow Road, Paisley. Cruise famously discussed how his paperboy job taught him the benefits and value of hard work and young Liam is clearly cut from the same cloth, having already been chosen to appear in the next Outlander TV series. Liam has been filming in the popular time-travelling romantic adventure over several months along with stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughman. He said: “My dream is to be a successful actor. And maybe it’s a good omen that Tom Cruise was a paperboy like me when he was a teenager!”

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04/12/2019 14:57:09

Inside Business

Cloud Chasing 2

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR The vaping category is enduring tough times, with scare stories from America and the convenience channel’s seeming inability to hold market share, never mind grow it. SLR’s second Cloud Chasing conference, held once again at 200 SVS in Glasgow, set about clearing the fog of confusion that currently surrounds vaping. BY FINDLAY STEIN


n the year since SLR’s first Cloud Chasing event about driving growth back into vaping, the category has seen something of a reversal of fortune – not least for convenience retailers – as the channel lost market share to the multiples’ aggressive pursuit of the pod sector. And vaping in general has suffered from a torrent of negative publicity in the wake of several vaping-related deaths in the US. The American health scare has been front and centre for the day’s first speaker for several months now. John Dunne, a Director of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA)



SLR December 2019.indd 32

gave his take on the US events and discussed how UKVIA was tackling “the threat from misinformation and misunderstanding”. And the threat is real: UKVIA members reported a downturn in business of between 20% and 50% when the story gained traction. Not only that, Dunne said there was anecdotal evidence some vapers had turned their backs on e-cigs to take up smoking once again. To fight back, UKVIA launched its ‘facts not fiction campaign’ with full-page ads in the national press. Dunne also took part in a round of TV interviews, which he said put the case for vaping before six million viewers.

04/12/2019 14:57:12




*Subject to availability. Varieties as stocked. Participating retailers only.

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04/12/2019 14:57:13

Inside Business

Cloud Chasing 2

TURNING AWAY FROM TOBACCO Dunne may well be right, as the public continues to turn away from tobacco in records numbers. Half of adults smoked in the 1970s; that figure is now in single digits. Dan Armstrong, Senior Business Manager for JUUL Labs, put the “terminal decline” of tobacco down to cost and “macro consumer trends”, as customers become more conscious of what they put into their bodies. In this context, he described vaping as “the biggest public health and commercial opportunity of the last 50 years for convenience stores.” Armstrong said the overall vaping market was growing – up 32% on 2018 – with closed pods up 200%, open tank systems up 10.4% and heat-not-burn products up 50%. Only disposables were in decline, down 11.2%. Unfortunately, the convenience channel’s share of this market has also fallen, down from 17% last year to 10%. With the market predicted to be worth £4.3bn by 2022, Armstrong said convenience was going to miss out on a £1.6bn opportunity, given that it accounts for 45% of tobacco retail sales.

The information push continues with a new UKVIA ‘vaping matters’ campaign that will showcase authentic engaging success stories. “We need to shout about it from the rooftops,” Dunne said. The vast majority of cases of illness in the US were in fact linked to black market batches of liquids containing THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. Dunne said the UK was fortunate to have public health regulators “that actually like vaping” who were very quick to come and say “it’s not vaping, it’s THC”. He advised retailers to reassure customers that products sold in the UK were highly regulated and entirely different to those involved in the US incidents. Dunne concluded by asking retailers to consider all the alternatives to smoking, and doesn’t see the introduction of nicotine pouches as a threat to the category. “The smart stores,” he said, “are turning into smoking cessation stores.” 34


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Inside Business

Cloud Chasing 2

Armstrong said the multiples were edging out c-stores, as they have realised the potential from the massive growth in pods. So how does convenience claw back its ‘fair share’ of the market and move towards the level of sales tobacco generates for the channel? “The first thing is embrace the category,” said Armstrong. He urged retailers to do their research; take advice from manufacturers and suppliers; listen and learn from other retailers; and get to know their market. He then advised retailers to stock a comprehensive focused range of the best products, perform regular category reviews then merchandise it properly. Staff education and knowledge is also crucial. “One of the big reasons why specialist vape stores do so well is because they really know their products,” he said.

Stuart Lane of Vape Dinner Lady discusses innovation.

DESTINATION VAPE The relatively new Premier Racetrack store in Ibrox, Glasgow could also be described as doing well from vaping. Conference host, and SLR’s Publishing Director, Antony Begley, profiled what has quickly become renowned as a ‘destination store’ for many reasons – not least its vaping offer. From the outside, the store looks like a bogstandard Premier forecourt, said Begley, but inside it is “off the scale bonkers”. It boasts 60 different slush machines, ice cream made using liquid nitrogen, desserts, American diner-style seating and whale music in the over-the-top customer toilets – all designed to pull in the punters. The store is owned by husband and wife team Vikas and Shamly Sud. Their son Guna oversees the vaping side of the business. After a 1m vape unit in one of the family’s other stores was a success, Guna decided to go big in Ibrox with the installation of a 4m backlit vape cabinet. In the three months since opening, this has led to a 30-fold sales bump compared to the 1m unit. The store sells the same volume of vaping products as it does tobacco, at margins of between 40% and 50%. Even at that level, the store’s prices are still 10% lower than its competitors, a deliberate tactic from Guna, as he thinks vaping customers are very price sensitive. He can afford to undercut the specialist vape shops and take a small hit on margin as business costs like staff, rent and rates are absorbed elsewhere in the store. Another secret of his success is his excellent customer engagement, which again boils down to education. The store is now so popular with vapers that Guna has launched a website ( to capitalise on the increased demand. 36


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Dan Armstrong of JUUL Labs talks missed opportunities.

04/12/2019 14:57:24

Cloud Chasing 2

Inside Business

DROPPING THE BALL Matt Moden, Managing Director of Liberty Flights, played down the assumption that the convenience channel has “dropped the ball” regarding vaping. He thinks the sector beats itself up too much with regards to its performance. He said the arrival of the technology and the industry that grew around it “completely usurped” all the big tobacco companies. Referring to the role played by online and specialist shops in the rise of vaping, he said: “It could never have grown like it did in the way that it did without going through the channels it went through. But it’s an evolving market and it is changing so rapidly that there is certainly opportunity.” He acknowledged vaping could be a “headache” for retailers for several reasons and urged them to take a full category approach. To that end, Moden laid out his seven golden rules for success. The first of these is to take knowledge seriously. “You have to understand what you’re selling,” said Moden. “If you or your staff aren’t taking it seriously, you might as well put gin on the shelves.” Walk before you can run is Moden’s second rule. He said Premier Racetrack was a great example of “somebody running and doing it with a plan”. Moden also stressed the importance of efficient merchandising. Retailers must expand and evolve their display solutions, he said. The migration from the tobacco gantry to a free-standing display unit is “critical”. As is offering shopper value. If you get it right, said Moden, and deliver a good solution, it will “massively increase footfall”. His fifth rule urged retailers to “own their profit destiny”. He is in no doubt the category is seeing a “race to the bottom” and said: “We’ve got to be mindful of the distinction between POR and cash margin.” He then sounded a note of caution and advised retailers to “pick pod systems wisely” and think where the lion’s share of category sales come from. The biggest challenge for pods is the existing market for open tank systems, said Moden, warning that – much like coffee pods – their ecological impact will become an increasing problem. For his final point, he urged retailers to “stick to the plan”. Work with a partner to take a holistic category approach and you should “see results in three months”.

GETTING A FAIR SHARE Paul Hastings of JTI and retailer Ferhan Ashiq offer an informative case study.

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Stuart Lane, Head of FMCG for Blackburnbased Vape Dinner Lady reiterated the point that convenience isn’t getting its fair share of DECEMBER 2019 | SLR


04/12/2019 14:57:26

Inside Business

John Dunne of UKVIA separates fact from fiction.

Liberty Flights MD Matthew Moden explains the golden rules of vaping success.

Craig Johnston of Healthy Hemp predicts big growth in CBD sales.

Cloud Chasing 2

the vaping market. He compared the category to the tobacco market 60 years ago when most tobacco was purchased from specialist stores. “That evolved over a period of time from specialist stores with expert staff into a convenience environment,” he said. While in agreement that training would help people understand “a complicated product,” Lane said hard-pressed c-store staff, with perhaps 40 or 50 other categories to get their heads round, don’t have the luxury of time to gain the knowledge. He also highlighted the “daunting environment” retailers need to enter to offer a comprehensive range, with 90 different SKUs and £5,000-worth of stock for pods alone, before pitching Vape Dinner Lady’s latest innovation – a premium disposable pod. Lane said the market for disposables was worth £150m and the product – which requires neither filling nor charging – offers the simplest step for a smoker looking to transition away from tobacco. He also positioned it as appealing to existing vapers who were looking for a smaller, more discreet alternative to their existing device. When queried about the ecological impact of disposables, Lane said Vape Dinner Lady offered a freepost return-and-recycle service. Equivalent to 20 cigarettes, the device retails at £5.99 and is available in tobacco, fruit and – perhaps most importantly – menthol. With a ban on flavoured tobacco around the corner in May 2020, and – according to Lane – with crushball and menthol accounting for around a quarter of the value of the £10bn tobacco market, retailers had to be ready to capitalise on something that “will turbocharge interest in the vaping category”.

A HANDLE ON HEMP The level of knowledge surrounding cannabidiol or CBD products has grown considerably since the topic was discussed at last year’s Cloud Chasing event. Then, it’s fair to say, a number of retailers were unsure what CBD was or even whether it was legal. This time around everyone seemed to have a reasonable handle on it, no doubt helped by what Craig Johnston, Business Development Manager for Healthy Hemp Products UK described as “a lot of positive news coverage”. Johnston said the industry’s aim – as suppliers cannot promote any alleged medical benefits of the products – was now to move the conversation on to talking about CBD as a supplement that everyone could take to improve their wellbeing and not just as a supposed cure for inflammatory illnesses. With the UK market for CBD exploding from £10m to £300m in four years, and the wider market for hemp products (CBD is extracted from the hemp plant) currently 38


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worth £1bn, Johnston said the country was in the midst of a “green rush”. He said the CBD market was where vaping sat six or seven years ago and predicted it would grow to £1bn in 2020, with over 10 million users. In the past CBD products have been expensive, with prices upwards of £20 or £30 not unusual, but Johnston said there is now a drive towards more consumer-focused products that were more of an impulse buy and priced under £10. He advised retailers to get ahead of the curve, find a reputable supplier, stock a couple of products and “get behind them”. “The market is out there,” he said.

POD POTENTIAL Proceedings closed with a case study from Day-Today retailer Ferhan Ashiq of Prestonpans Village Store and Paul Hastings, Trade Marketeer for JTI. Ferhan invested heavily in vaping five years but saw his sales take a 60% hit when a specialist vape shop opened nearby last year. Restrictions on marketing through social media channels also impacted vaping sales. After researching ways to recapture his customers, and recognising the potential in the emerging pod sector, Ferhan turned to JTI for a solution. Hastings said the answer boiled down to range, merchandising and knowledge. The first involved stocking the right range, he said, a mix of open tank and pods – the latter JTI’s Logic Compact system. However, Hastings stressed the importance of treating vaping like any other category with a mix of brands. “You wouldn’t see a fridge just full of Coke,” he said. What sold Ferhan on the Logic Compact was its £4 price point, which was a “no brainer” and sold “all day long,” with customers buying a second device to keep as a spare or for the car. Ferhan also went big on marketing, with two lockable JTI vape towers on the shop floor that can be opened remotely; double facings; and media screens inside and outside the store. This meant Logic Compact “was in everyone’s face”. The importance of education cropped up again. Ferhan trains his staff to assess a customer’s age and ask them questions like “What are you hoping to achieve?” or “Are you hoping to quit cigarettes?” Staff must speak with confidence, he said, otherwise “hesitation will result in a lost sale”. Hastings agreed. “Good staff knowledge will get a happy customer. A happy customer should come back.” The event also featured a bustling exhibition, where retailers could find out more about the key brands in the market.

04/12/2019 14:57:28


For adult smokers and vapers only. Vype e-cigarettes contain nicotine. 18+ only. Read leaflet in pack. All Vype products comply with UK and EU law and all our ingredients have been tested for their suitability for vaping.

SLR December 2019.indd 39 QA33_VYPE_UK_CB_226x303_ConvenienceStore_Duo_R2.indd 1

04/12/2019 14:57:30 11/21/19 12:14 PM

Inside Business

The Big Interview | Jonathan Kemp, AG Barr

ALL EYES ON 2020 FOR AG BARR It was always going to be impossible to replicate the stellar success of 2018 with its endless sunshine and countless major events, but AG Barr Commercial Director Jonathan Kemp still finds plenty of positives in this year’s performance and remains upbeat about 2020.



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Jonathan Kemp, AG Barr | The Big Interview


ne of the most enjoyable and refreshing things about interviewing AG Barr Commercial Director Jonathan Kemp over the years is that he never ducks questions, no matter how awkward the answer is going to be. In response to the loaded question “How has the year been?” he responds bluntly: “It hasn’t been a great year for any of us, has it? We’ve seen year-on-year soft drink sales in independent stores down an average of 11% and there have been individual weeks where they’ve been down 75%. That’s not great.” Of course, it was never destined to be a great year, certainly not when you compare it to last year, as all businesses – including AG Barr – are inevitably forced to do. A seemingly endless summer with recordbreaking temperatures coupled with a seemingly endless stream of major events culminated in nothing less than a phenomenal year for soft drinks. “It was always going to be a near impossible task to replicate the success of 2018 so I think it’s important we all put 2019’s performance in some kind of perspective,” says Kemp. “It’s obviously a challenge we face internally too because we’re attempting to sell into a much smaller market with much softer demand so that’s naturally going to have consequences.” Kemp is also keen to highlight how the 2018 figures themselves were complicated by the much-publicised CO2 shortages. He comments: “A lot of soft drinks companies were affected by that in all sorts of ways. It led to lots of products simply not being available in wholesale and, as a consequence, in retail. What that meant was that both retailers and consumers were just buying what was available, rather than what they actually wanted and that had an impact on everyone’s sales figures last year.” The point being that meaningfully comparing this year’s sales with last year’s is not as straightforward a task as it might appear. As it happened, AG Barr had already learned from a previous CO2 problem and had contingency plans in place which allowed it to capitalise in 2018 as other suppliers ran out. Kemp’s ultimate and very practical theory is that it’s much more sensible to compare 2019’s performance with 2017’s – which was a much more typical year – rather than comparing it with the 2018 outlier. “If we compare our performance as a company with 2017 I think we get a much more sensible, balanced platform for analysing how this year’s been,” suggests Kemp. “Irn-Bru, for instance, is in growth when compared to 2017 so for me that’s a positive. “Let’s face it, we’ve been around since 1875 and we’ve always taken a long-term view about the growth and the development of the company,” he says. “Even being a PLC these days, I believe our shareholders understand that 2018 was a spectacular year that was impossible to repeat but they see that our long-term strategy is sound and as a brandbased business we are in a very good position moving forward.” The Irn-Bru brand is doing well, says Kemp, with Irn-Bru Xtra doing “extremely well”, while the newer IrnBru Energy is also “doing well”. “We are constantly trying to see what we can do with the Irn-Bru brand because it’s such an iconic part of the

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Inside Business

Scottish cultural tapestry,” he explains. “Everything that says Irn-Bru on the front is based around the same Irn-Bru essence of 32 flavours and that’s been consistent since day one.” Speaking of day one, the imminent launch of Irn-Bru 1901 has already caused a media furore, although Kemp is curiously coy about the longer-term prospects for what looks certain to be a smash hit when it goes into wholesale this month. “We produced around five million bottles, roughly one bottle for every person in Scotland, so we’ll just see how it goes in the market before we make any decisions,” he says, somewhat cryptically. With retailers, wholesalers and symbol groups pulling every favour in the book to get as much of it as possible for themselves, it seems impossible that the launch won’t be another massive success, and another stroke of marketing genius from a brand that has more than its fair share of often irreverent smash hits in the past. Irn-Bru 1901 actually contains even more sugar than the most recent ‘original’ Irn-Bru, the one before the reformulation and sugarreduction that caused so much consternation across Scotland. The 1901 version doesn’t contain caffeine but does contain a special unpronounceable natural ingredient, faithful to the original recipe, which produces a smooth and frothy head. “We call it the ‘new and unimproved’ Irn-Bru and it was made to an authentic 1901 recipe from a handwritten book stored in our archives for over 100 years,” says Kemp. “Honestly, you’ve never tasted anything like it.” The 1901 version will sell for an eyebrow-raising £2 a bottle and will only be available in old school Irn-Bru glass bottles. “The price point reflects the fact that it will attract the Soft Drinks Industry Levy and the fact that it is more expensive to produce, although it will deliver around double the margin for retailers at about 50p a bottle,” highlights Kemp. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a quirky bit of festive NPD from AG Barr and this year it’s Irn-Bru Crimbo juice, a limited edition ‘Spiced Ginger’ product – a pun that might be lost on nonScots. Another interesting bit of NPD sees the company launch new Rockstar XD Power, something Kemp is particularly excited about. “It’s an interesting launch for us because it takes us into a new space. It’s a caffeinated drink with no sugar but with BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) which is aimed at customers who take their sports and training seriously. We know that over 60% of men aged 16-34 use supplements of sorts and we believe that they will embrace this product – and it will deliver incremental category growth for retailers.” As for the company’s other ranges like Bundaberg, Snapple, San Benedetto and Rubicon, Kemp admits it’s been a bit of a mixed bag. “Rubicon Spring in particular is doing really well in Scotland although the sparkling Rubicon is flat and the still variant is in decline,” he admits. “We are addressing that with a major relaunch shortly.” So 2019 wasn’t such a bad year after all then when taken in true context and there’s certainly plenty to be optimistic about for 2020, then? “I’m always optimistic,” laughs Kemp. “We’ve got great brands, great products and great plans for the future and we’re building from a massively strong base. Roll on 2020!” DECEMBER 2019 | SLR


04/12/2019 14:57:31

The SLR Rewards 2020 are now open to enter, so it’s time to start preparing your entries for the only awards programme in the industry to offer every winner fantastic Rewards!

SLR is once again delighted to announce that the most Rewarding awards programme in the UK local retailing industry is back! The search for the winners of the SLR Rewards 2020 officially starts here. Launched in 2003, the SLR Rewards have grown and evolved over time with last year’s event the biggest we’ve ever hosted – but one thing has remained consistent: the awards have always been committed to recognising and rewarding excellence in Scottish local retailing. Previous years have seen our worthy winners jet off to Atlanta, Las Vegas and Chicago; we’ve sent retailers to Amsterdam, Belgium, Lille and London; they’ve

cheered on at Champions League matches in Paris and Commonwealth Games events in Glasgow. We’ve had them tearing up racetracks in Ferraris, dining in Michelin-starred restaurants and watching global superstars from the best seats in the house. This year’s awards look set to be just as Rewarding with yet more amazing prizes up for grabs. The awards ceremony will once again be held in Glasgow’s Radisson blu hotel. It will take place on 11 June 2020. So could it be you? The only way to win it is to be in it! So set aside some time and make sure you give yourself the chance of being among the winners on 11 June!

ENTERING IS EASIER THAN EVER! Step 1: Visit This is the preferred entry method. Step 2: Click on ‘Enter now’. Step 3: Fill in the form and submit – you can enter as many categories as you choose from a single form. Don’t forget about your supporting photos and/or videos! You will then receive a confirmation message and email. Microsoft Word versions of individual category entry forms are also available from – please state what categories you wish to enter. The SLR Rewards 2020 are open to all independent and symbol convenience stores in Scotland. The content of your entry should cover the 12-month period running up to March 2020 and your store, or the project you are submitting in your entry, should have been operational throughout that period.

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1 Beers, Ciders, Wines & Spirits 2 Biscuits 3 Confectionery 4 Crisps & Snacks 5 Food To Go 6 Forecourt


7 Fresh, Chilled & Frozen


8 New Store

There are two stages to the judging process:

9 Refit


10 Community Involvement 11 Newstrade 12 Responsible Retailer 13 Scottish Brands 14 Soft Drinks 15 Sustainability 16 Team 17 ThinkSmart Innovation 18 Vaping

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Q The paper judging will be carried out by a judging panel made up of the SLR editorial team plus a team of independent judges. They will vote for the shortlist for each category with every member of the panel carrying equal voting rights. Q All entrants will be contacted by the events team to notify them if they have been selected or not.


Please make sure you answer all relevant questions on the entry form as fully as possible. Judges like supporting facts and figures!

STORE VISITS Q All shortlisted stores will be visited by a member of the judging panel. Q All winners will be announced at the Awards on 11 June 2020.

04/12/2019 14:57:33

Inside Business

Wholefoods Atlanta

WHOLEFOODS ATLANTA: A RETAILER’S PERSPECTIVE As part of his Reward for winning the Scottish Young Local Retailer of the Year at the SLR Rewards, Musselburgh retailer Dan Brown visited the mammoth NACS Conference in Atlanta – but he also found time to spend a few hours studying the stunning Amazon-owned Wholefoods store in the city. BY DAN BROWN, PINKIE FARM CONVENIENCE STORE, MUSSELBURGH



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Wholefoods Atlanta

Inside Business


he standards in the store are very consistent with the usual Wholefoods model. Very well presented, with clean with fresh products and impressive displays. This is quite a contrast to the other stores I’ve visited in the surrounding area. As with previous Wholefoods stores I’ve visited, there are several common themes presented within the store: Q SAMPLING OUT PRODUCTS – Almost every fresh feature display within the store has a sampling station encouraging the customer to try the product. This store has lidded perspex boxes to keep the sample product covered which seemed to work well. Almost every customer was trying the different products while I was in. Q PRE-PREPARED – Chopped fruit, veg, marinated meats and other meal accompaniments are all designed to make life simpler for the customer and have a large presence within the store. Q PACKAGE/PREPARE YOURSELF – There are multiple stations around the store where customers are encouraged to prepare or package products themselves – this included everything from a wide variety of nut butters, cereals, granola, grains, sweets and coffee. Q DELI AND HOT FOOD AREAS – Similar to the ambient package-yourself concepts, the store has a vast array of delis and hot food stations. Customers tub up whatever they want, mixing and matching as they desire. They are then simply charged by weight, with no confusion at the till point. This always seems to be an incredibly popular concept, giving customers quick and easy ready to eat food solutions that they can either take home or consume within the store’s extensive seating area.

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04/12/2019 14:57:36

Inside Business

Wholefoods Atlanta

Q LOCAL, ETHICAL AND HEALTHY ARE ALL PROMINENT THEMES THROUGHOUT THE STORE – This particular store sits in stark contrast to the surrounding competition, where excessive packaging and highly processed foods are the norm. These themes are particularly strong in the UK at the moment and so there was quite a noticeable difference within Atlanta. Wholefoods however is very much ahead of this trend. Q KEEPING THE ON-SHELF DISPLAYS INTERESTING – In addition to the stunning floor displays and exceptionally diligent standard of facing-up, Wholefoods has always had an interesting approach to its on-shelf merchandising. Rather than have all of their products meticulously laid out in departments, Wholefoods break these sections up with themes, making the store more interesting and easier to

shop. These themes are generally focused around specific dine in occasions and rather than having the traditional ‘don’t forget the...’ POS leading customers to different areas within the store, the customer instead has everything they need in one place. To me, this demonstrates that making the customer walk around the store looking for everything in different locations to try and get them to ‘shop the entire store’ doesn’t work as well. ‘Ease of shopping’ regularly features highly within insight research. Merchandising with an ‘occasions’ approach merged into the store rather than just in strict departments achieves the goal of building a basket rather than simply relying on consumer impulse. This ultimately then increases overall customer spend. 46


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Finally, with Amazon owning the Wholefoods brand, it wouldn’t be right not to mention what role the internet giant plays within the store. Almost all of the promotional activity was exclusively available to Prime members. With access to an in-store app, delivery options and external collection lockers all available through Prime, membership seems to be a no brainer for the customer. This of course then gives Amazon a complete picture of just about every customer that walks into Wholefoods and allows it to understand exactly how to influence their buying decisions. Given the scale and power that Amazon have built over the years it’s clear that it will only be a matter of time before they start implementing their learnings on a mass scale, which is likely to completely change the industry as we know it!

04/12/2019 14:57:38

Product News

CCEP adds to Monster Espresso range Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has expanded its Espresso Monster range with the launch of a Salted Caramel flavour, designed to appeal to coffee drinkers and energy drink lovers alike. Rolling out at the end of November, the new variant is a combination of real brewed coffee and the Monster energy blend. Available in cases of 12 premium ‘touch ink’ black 250ml cans (RSP £1.99), the new flavour follows on from the launch of the Espresso Monster range in March, which is now worth £5.5m. It joins existing variants Espresso & Milk and Vanilla Espresso. The launch will be supported by POS material and off-fixture display. The full Espresso Monster range will also be available in a £1.99 price-marked pack option to the independent channel from the New Year. Simon Harrison, Vice President, Commercial Development at CCEP GB, said: “The Salted Carmel flavour profile is already popular with consumers in coffee shops and across other food and drink categories. We’re therefore confident that the new great tasting variant will help to fuel further growth of the Espresso Monster range, delighting Monster’s core fan base whilst also recruiting new drinkers.” For more information, retailers should call 0808 1 000 000 or email

Riverstone combi pouch Imperial Tobacco

Traybake kits Dr. Oetker

Hot on the heels of its launch into the roll-your-own market with Lambert & Butler, Imperial Tobacco has unveiled a new combi pouch format for Riverstone. Available now, the Riverstone Combi Pouch (RSP £11) contains 30g of easy-to-roll tobacco, 60 papers and 60 filters. Imperial said it was the first-ever combi pouch to hit the UK market.

Home baking brand Dr. Oetker has launched three new traybake kits that contain cake mix, frosting and a baking tray. All three kits – Lemon Drizzle (375g), Carrot Cake (425g), Chocolate & Salted Caramel (425g) – are available now in cases of four with an RSP of £2.50. The kits are easy to use, and just require the addition of eggs, milk, oil and butter. For more information, call 0113 823 1400 or visit


Alba Cola Caledonian Cola Company This new Scottish premium craft cola is made with lightly carbonated Scottish water and heather botanicals. It contains only natural sugars, is vegan-friendly and is available now in cases of 24 x 330ml cans with an RSP of £1.40 from specialist wholesalers including Glencarse Foods and Cress Co. The launch is backed by digital and social activity. For more information visit or email info@

best-one coffee Bestway Wholesale Bestway Wholesale has added five new coffee SKUs to its best-one and best-one Inspired own-label ranges. These include two Roast & Ground Coffees (227g, RSP £2.99); two Fresh Ground Coffees (227g, PMP £2.29); and a Barista Premium Instant Americano (100g, PMP £2.49). All are available now in shelfready cases of six.

Boursin 3-Flavour Edition Groupe Bel Back for Christmas 2019, Boursin’s three-pack contains 3 x 80g cheeses (Garlic & Herbs, Fig & Nuts and the newly-featured Black Pepper). The packs have been designed specifically to help retailers capitalise on multiple special sharing occasions. They are available in cases of eight and RSP at £3. For more information email or call 0792 006 2713.

Luxury Class Tobacco e-liquids Vape Dinner Lady This new premium range of tobacco flavoured e-liquids is offered in four flavours: Smooth Tobacco, Café Tobacco; Mint Tobacco Caramel Tobacco. All are available in outers of 5 x 10ml bottles in strengths of 3, 6, 12 and 18mg/ ml with an RSP of £4.49 each. To find out more, call 01254 972041, email fmcgsales@ or visit vapedinnerlady. com.

for all the latest product news, head to

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The forecourt sector has been revitalised in recent years and looks to be a channel ripe for growth in Scotland with many of the key players looking north of the border for opportunities.


he resurgence of the forecourts channel in Scotland shows no signs of slowing up with many of the major players really getting behind the channel. One such brand is Gulf, with Certas Energy Retail Director Richard Billington proud to confirm that the brand has “ambitious growth plans in Scotland”. He says: “A series of significant changes to the Gulf brand, its philosophy and dealer proposition are now starting to bear fruit for Gulf retailers across Scotland. We have ambitious growth plans in Scotland, having re-defined our proposition with a much greater focus upon driving up dealer margins and shop revenues. We have achieved significant growth in recent months with dealers of all sizes joining the Gulf family, buoyed by a proposition that is fully in-tune with today’s convenienceled marketplace.” The changes Billington refers to include the launch of a fresh new eyecatching forecourt image and the rollout of a fuel loyalty programme. Both 48


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have been well received and are now available to every new Gulf dealer in Scotland as the company continues its drive to meet the changing needs of the consumer. “Our brand-new forecourt loyalty platform, Oomph, utilises the latest technology to drive new revenues to dealers, enabling them to strengthen customer retention,” says Billington. “Sixty-one per cent of retailers cite customer retention as their biggest challenge and Oomph is the only fuel loyalty programme that gives dealers access to customer data and allows them to tailor offers to suit.” Working in partnership with Azpiral, the market leader in customer engagement solutions for the forecourt and convenience sector, this major new initiative means Gulf dealers can now talk to their customer groups via SMS, email and a dedicated phone app and tailor offers to specific groups to boost in-store profits and strengthen community ties. Larbert-based Gerry Welsh, Retail Marketing Manager, Certas Energy

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A Brand New Gulf

We have revitalised our forecourt image for today’s marketplace. This modern, fresh and eye-catching look is designed to widen the appeal of our forecourts, attracting new customers and helping our Retailers increase visibility at all times of the day.

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04/12/2019 10:13:15 14:57:42 22/08/2019



says: “Gulf dealers now have the tools to delve deep into the shopping basket of a customer and respond accordingly with dedicated calls to action. Our immediate goal was to come to market with a fresh and exciting loyalty scheme that is embraced by dealers and their customers. We plan to make Oomph the most engaging loyalty platform in the industry for consumers and the most cost-effective for dealers.”

A first for the forecourt sector, the Oomph loyalty platform is easy to use and can be integrated with a variety of EPoS systems. Its versatility extends to the point of purchase, where customers are rewarded with points for utilising the app and smart card. Accumulated points are redeemable to support local charities and enter ‘big ticket’ monthly draws to ‘Win a Car’, a ‘5-star family holiday’, or similar. In addition, dealers can reward their customers with memberonly offers such as in-store discounts, free coffees and car washes. These can work across a multi-site environment. “In addition, Gulf Retailers are also benefiting from advantageous relationships with third party suppliers to drive down costs and improve dealer profitability,” continues Billington. “We are using our size and scale to develop enhanced arrangements. To date we have significantly improved our lubricant offering, thanks to a new partnership with CDG, and concluded a best-to-industry arrangement with several of the UK’s leading software and system providers. These include Orbis Tech, whose cloud-based

Buying or selling a retail business? If you’re buying or selling a retail-based business, it’s vital that you have a reliable and accurate stock valuation for the business. Whether it’s a convenience store, newsagent, petrol station, sports shop, card shop or retail store, we’ll ensure that your business sales are supported with the professional and accurate stock valuation you need. Our business sale and transfer valuation services include a thorough date check of all stock and margins agreed to maximise gross profit. We’ll agree the correct discounts to be used with all the parties to ensure a reliable and undisputed count, with detailed valuations and certificates produced on the day of the count for immediate use. We conduct business sale stock valuation for businesses across the UK including some of the biggest and best names in retail like Costcutters, Day-Today, Best-One, Londis, Lifestyle Convenience Stores, Mace, Premier, Best-In, Shop Smart, independent Spar stores and Keystores. Whatever your business schedule, we can support it. Stock counts can be carried out to meet whatever time scales you need to follow, including short-notice valuations.

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software and integrated systems offer Gulf dealers improved security and access to information in real time. This enables a retailer to make a more informed choice, putting at their fingertips the tools to manage every aspect of their operation including cross-promotional offers, multi-buys and meal deals.” These product and service solutions help empower Gulf retailers in their day-to-day business operations and allow them, on site or remotely, to fully exploit consumer demand for convenience, driving sales of fuel, coffee, food-to-go, groceries, clickand-collect and any other retail offerings. “Nothing emphasises that more than our recent agreement with Spar,” says Billington. “Working with the UK’s leading symbol group will ensure that we are able to maximise the convenience potential of every site in the Gulf network. Spar’s commitment to our business extends to its technical expertise and resources that it is willing to place at our disposal. Add to that its wealth of retail experience, consumer insight and market knowledge, along with

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Andrew & & Scott Scott Aitken Andrew Owners of of Haddington Haddington & Owners Rigg Service Service Stations. Rigg Welove lovegetting gettingto to know know our our dealers. dealers. We Caringabout aboutall all the the little little things things is Caring is probablywhy whywe wefeel feel part part of of the the family. family. probably

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LRS FUELLING SUCCESS FOR SLR FORECOURT RETAILER OF THE YEAR Prestwick Londis retailer Walter Bryson is the current SLR Forecourt Retailer of the Year and runs one of the most impressive stores of any description that you’re likely to see. Walter has constantly redeveloped the business over the years with a steady programme of reinvestment that has ensured that his store is bang up to date with the latest consumers trends. His latest major refit saw the store shift much of its focus onto the burgeoning food-to-go category with more space freed up for a full hot and cold offering including pizzas, soup, filled rolls and baguettes, salads, coffee and much more. SLR visited the store with awards category sponsor Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS) to see how the business has been transformed. Tom Gaw, LRS National Account Controller, says: “It’s just fantastic to see a forecourt retailer really embracing the latest trends and staying ahead of the curve. Food-to-go is clearly a massively important category in convenience retailing and Walter has had the courage to invest heavily to fully refit the 24-hour store and become a true destination store for shoppers in Prestwick looking for high quality food-to-go at all times of the day or night.” Of course, the soft drinks category plays an even bigger role than ever, with the vast majority of food-to-go shoppers also picking up a drink or two while they are there. Walter explains: “Soft drinks has always been a really important category for us which is why it enjoys a prime site in the store but as we have ramped up the food-to-go offer, the role of soft drinks has increased even further.” Walter and Tom took the opportunity to discuss the category. Gaw says: “To be fair, Walter’s ranging and merchandising is excellent, as you’d expect from the SLR Forecourt Retailer of the Year, but there’s always room for improvement even in the finest store. We discussed how Walter could perhaps make meal deals a bigger part of his food-to-go offer and drive basket spend even further, and we discussed the role of larger takehome packs and how he could make even more use of them by siting them closer to the hot food counter and perhaps offering link-deals.” Walter concludes: “It’s always really helpful to get some fresh views on the store from experts like Tom. We knew when we refitted the store that we wouldn’t get absolutely everything right on day one so it’s really useful to hear some thoughts on how we can push footfall, sales and profits even higher using soft drinks. As I say, it’s a critical category in a forecourt and the more use we can make of it the better.”



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a vast range of local products, including the widest possible choice of fresh foods and foodto-go options. A huge plus for dealers looking to maximise the potential of their convenience offering.” With a workforce of 250 based at its offices on the outskirts of Falkirk, Certas Energy’s Scottish portfolio extends to 38 company owned forecourts including 13 Fuel Express 24-hour unmanned sites. Its Gulf dealer network, comprising around 100 forecourts, extends from the Borders to the Highlands, making Gulf one of the largest fuel brands in Scotland. “We are already a major player in Scotland, and I believe we have the strategic focus, the structure and the retail brand proposition to become the preferred forecourt brand for dealers of all sizes throughout Scotland,” concludes Billington. “Our recent highprofile gain of Ballinluig, Pitlochry after 49 years with BP suggests we are on the right lines. Gulf is driving change in the industry with its innovative approach that puts dealer profitability at the top of the tree as we widen our appeal to a new generation of consumers and motorists.” Also targeting Scotland with energy is JET, which launched its new forecourt design earlier this year. This received an extremely positive response from consumers and dealers alike, according to JET. The design incorporates several improvements to create a safe, friendly and welcoming customer environment – and to help JET dealers widen their sites’ appeal and attract forecourt footfall. These include a fabricated LEDlit logo, a soft-angled canopy with dual-colour LED illumination, an LED-lit four-price pole sign and updated signage. Oliver Müller, JET’s Retail Business Manager, comments: “The forecourt retailing market is constantly evolving and JET is fully committed to responding to changes in consumer expectations and retail trends. “Over the past 12 months, we’ve been working on an

initiative to refresh our forecourt branding, make our sites more distinctive, support our dealers in their businesses and enhance our forecourt experience in order to reconnect with consumers. We’ve built on the strength of JET’s heritage, expertise and personality to come up with a new forecourt image that we are delighted to say has been welcomed with open arms by our dealers and their customers. “We’re delighted with the dealer and consumer feedback we’ve gathered so far. We’ve completed extensive consumer research at our pilot sites and have obtained feedback from our dealers, all of which has been overwhelmingly positive. Ninetyone per cent of consumers questioned agreed that the changes to the forecourt image improved the petrol station. We will continue to engage with both these audiences over the coming months and years as their ideas and input will help to shape any further improvements we introduce.” One of the sites that took part in the redesign pilot was JET Cothouse Service Station near Dunoon. Scott Murray who runs the site with his father, Alistair, and brother, John, comments: “We really like the new image and logo. It looks very modern, dynamic and professional. The grey works particularly well and the new canopy is sleek. The modern pole sign design is definitely an improvement and having all the prices displayed is great for pricing clarity. We’ll certainly see the benefits of the new LED lights when the winter nights draw in! The canopy sets us apart from competition with its angled edges, and the combination of uplighting LED and the LED strips looks fantastic. “Our customers really like the new design. A refresh is always welcomed by staff and customers as it helps to give a sense of pride in our store. Customers like their local site to look the part!” JET is rolling the new design out across the network with several sites due to be reimaged by Christmas.

04/12/2019 14:57:44

Henderson Technology


HENDERSON TECHNOLOGY ARE DELIGHTED WITH ALL THEIR EDGEPOS INSTALLS ACROSS SCOTLAND IN 2019 Darren Nickels, Head of Henderson Technology, said: “We are delighted to have installed the award winning EDGEPoS system across Scotland this year. It has been a successful year, not only installing EDGEPoS in various SPAR stores across Scotland; but also developing the link with JW Filshill and being announced as their preferred EPOS suppliers for fuel forecourts in Scotland and England.” Andrew Aitken from Bypass Service Station in Haddington said: “We were looking for the most innovative company that could fulfil our needs with state of the art technology. Henderson Technology has come up with the goods and EDGEPoS is the most cutting edge technology of our times. It does more than what it says on the tin.” Craig Brown, Retail Sales Director of JW Filshill said: “JW Filshill are a strong Scottish family run company who still follow many of our traditional values, whilst also being modern and forward

thinking. We work with many innovative retailers, and when we looked at Henderson Technology and the EDGEPoS system, we saw these same values and progressive ideas from the company and the software. That’s why, here at JW Filshill, we are delighted to be associated with Henderson Technology and are proud to announce EDGEPoS as one of our preferred EPOS suppliers for fuel forecourts in Scotland and England.”

Craig finishes: “I look forward to working alongside Henderson Technology in more of our petrol forecourt sites.” Darren Nickels concludes: “With the launch of our innovative and cost effective self-checkout solution for our retailers, alongside our award winning Gander App, and the upcoming launches of Appetite and Ubamarket App integrations, EDGEPoS really is the future of retail technology. We offer 365/24/7 support with every system, as we know that businesses do not stop at 5pm. We look forward to sharing the benefits that our team and our solution can offer with more and more retailers as we expand across all parts of the UK and Ireland.” “We have worked with all our customers to ensure that Henderson Technology’s award-winning EPOS solution brings additional functionality and integrations which are much needed in the fuel forecourt and convenience sectors.”

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04/12/2019 14:57:45

Last-Minute Festive Ideas


CASH IN ON LAST-MINUTE FESTIVE SPEND! As the big day draws ever closer, there will always be opportunities to boost festive spend by stocking a range of products that will help shoppers ensure the Christmas holidays are memorable.


hristmas comes but once a year and with it comes the prospect of shoppers loosening their purse strings a little, something that doesn’t happen too often these days. As the big day nears, there will be plenty of opportunities to cash in on last-minute spending as your customers either replenish Christmas supplies they already bought (but have already started tucking into) or indulge in a few unplanned splurges to add a few items that will help make the festive period go with a swing. SLR has a few ideas for things that might help you drive up spend and profit this Christmas and New Year….

MIXERS You’ve no doubt made sure that your vital soft drinks fixtures are in good shape for the big day, but have you thought about mixers? How is that particular fixture looking? Is there plenty of choice in terms of products and pack formats? Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, advises: “Mixers are popular options at Christmas as consumers look for ‘special’ drinks that capture the excitement of the holiday season like cocktails and non-alcoholic

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mocktails. Mixers grew by more than a fifth last Christmas as more people looked to recreate their favourite mixed drinks at home. “Schweppes continues to be one of the nation’s favourite mixer brands as well as the biggest in the convenience channel, delivering doubledigit growth. With this in mind, Schweppes Tonic and Schweppes Slimline Tonic 1-litre PET bottles are must-stocks on the lead up to Christmas alongside alcohol ranges.”

CHEESE Lots of shoppers love a bit of cheese at Christmas and New Year and, while the obvious choices may be Stilton or mature cheddar, don’t overlook Boursin. Penetration in the speciality cheese category more than doubles during December with 18.4% of shoppers only buying into the category at Christmas [Kantar]. This creates a big opportunity for retailers to attract new and light users. Boursin is both the fastestgrowing indulgence cheese (+20%) in value and the number one indulgent cheese at Christmas. Sales will be bolstered with the return of the “Merry Boursin” campaign, maximising brand visibility during December. DECEMBER 2019 | SLR


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Last-Minute Festive Ideas

BRUSSEL SPROUTS CRISPS You can’t beat a festive gimmick to liven up a Christmas get-together and crisp brand Walkers has it down to a fine art with its range of Christmas dinner flavours – including the infamous Brussels Sprouts variant that’s certain to spark a few conversations at any party. Back by popular demand, the range was a huge hit last Christmas; this year’s offer is set to perform equally well. New for 2019, £1 price-marked pack formats also join the lineup, available in two of the nation’s favourite festive flavours: Pigs in Blankets and Turkey & Stuffing. Two multipacks are available: one for the sprout lovers and the other for the sprout haters. Christmas dinner for sprout lovers includes Brussels Sprouts, Turkey & Stuffing and Pigs in Blankets. Christmas dinner for sprout haters includes Glazed Ham, Turkey & Stuffing and Cheese & Cranberry. Nick Day, Brand Manager, at PepsiCo, comments: ‘‘The return of the Walkers Christmas flavours comes in response to the buzz and talkability generated last year, and the huge demand from consumers. This year, we are also excited to launch two new £1 PMPs in our most popular festive flavours. We hope to spread the festivity, and continue to invite customers to decide whether they’re a #SproutLover or #SproutHater.”

FUNCTIONAL DRINKS For many Scots, ‘functional’ drinks at Christmas time usually means beers, wines and spirits that perform the invaluable function of lubricating a pleasant get together – but just as important are those other ‘functional’ drinks like market leader Red Bull, which help shoppers make it through the festive period in one piece. Mark Bell, Strategy and Planning Manager at Red Bull UK, says: “Soft drinks is a seasonal category, with 19% more sales at Christmas compared to the rest of the year and 22% more for multipacks. This means retailers should ensure they are supporting Soft Drinks and Energy Drinks at Christmas by stocking the right formats and brands. Sales in Christmas 2018 accounted for two-thirds of the growth of Functional Energy drinks during the festive period.” Also generating interest will be the newish energy offerings Coke Energy and Irn-Bru Energy.

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Christmas is simply not Christmas for many without a slight over-indulging when it comes to chocolate. Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, says: “Shoppers spent a

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Last-Minute Festive Ideas


breaking £937m on confectionery over Christmas 2018, and this year is once more set to bring retailers their biggest ever seasonal sales. Chocolate is the most frequently consumed and gifted category at Christmas, so it’s essential that retailers prepare early to deliver a ‘Festive Finish’ to maximise their shoppers’ spend.” Mondelez says that in the days leading up to Christmas, shoppers will look to stock up on sharing and gifting tins to ensure there are enough treats to go around on the big day. So to help retailers make the most of the final Christmas purchases opportunity, it has refreshed its much-loved Cadbury selection tins. Worth a try is Cadbury Heroes, which is marking two decades on the market with a special edition 20th Birthday Tin. Also, Cadbury Roses has unveiled a new gifting tin as part of the brand’s partnership with watch and jewellery designer Olivia Burton. The Olivia Burton for Roses Tins’ eye-catching designs will stand out on shelf to capture additional sales from shoppers this year as they look for a unique festive gift.






Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Absolute Volume Sales Growth vs YA MAT to 28.09.19





The daddy of Scottish brands, IrnBru, is offering retailers a couple of opportunities to drive higher value, higher volume sales this Christmas with two limited edition launches: IrnBru 1901 and Irn-Bru Crimbo Juice. 1901 is the ‘new and unimproved’ Irn-Bru made to the original Irn-Bru recipe – complete with sugar, and lots of it, while Crimbo Juice features a “phenomenal ‘Spiced Ginger’ festive flavour – regular Irn-Bru with warming ginger, clove and cinnamon notes”. The company says 90% of Scottish consumers “want Irn-Bru to launch a limited-edition flavour” so you can expect both lines to do well over the next few weeks.

A NEW TRADITION? Pepsi Max is back on TV this Christmas as it challenges shoppers to “try a new tradition this Christmas”, highlighting what it views as the brand’s no-sugar great taste credentials. This large-scale support provides a key sales opportunity for operators, especially during the busy Christmas period, which last year saw 60% of households make a cola purchase.

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Adult Soft Drinks

WHAT DO ADULTS DRINK WHEN THEY’RE NOT DRINKING? This Christmas more adults than ever will be giving alcohol a miss now and again – so what do they drink when they’re not drinking? Adult Soft Drinks is a growing category that deserves some attention this year.


or many Scots, the festive period is synonymous with kicking back and relaxing after a tough year, and for many that will mean a few beers or a glass of wine – but for an increasingly large number, alcohol is no longer the natural first choice. According to the NHS, some 20% of UK adults don’t consume alcohol these days. And that doesn’t include the growing number of adults who are not teetotal but don’t drink with the regularity of others. So what do they drink at parties or on nights out when they’re not having a tipple? The answer is increasingly the growing category of Adult Soft Drinks. Adrian Troy, Marketing Director at Barr Soft Drinks, explains: “A fifth of UK adults do not consume alcohol and these consumers expect a greater soft drinks experience when they are socialising than they would get at home. The key need state for premium soft drinks consumers – Adult Social – recognises the need for indulgent treats and options for those who don’t drink alcohol, which retailers can tap into to drive sales.” That’s a sentiment shared by Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), who says: “Low- and no-alcohol options are becoming increasingly popular as people are more calorie conscious and choosing fitnessfocused lifestyles. Consumers are increasingly prepared to pay more for an indulgent beverage and are on the lookout for products that are of a higher quality, whether they are mixers or stand-alone soft drinks.” SLR has picked out six great premium lines that will help retailers appeal to the non-drinkers this Christmas…

ST CLEMENT’S Launched earlier this year and available in two flavours – Apple & Pear and Raspberry & Blackberry – St Clement’s is made using a blend of bittersweet British apples, fruit juices and sparkling water. Packaged in premium 500ml glass bottles, St Clement’s is perfect served over ice.

SHLOER Shloer Original is ideal as a 750ml sparkling alternative to wine and is available in Red, White and Rosé variants, plus a selection of mixed fruit flavours. Two ‘Light’ alternatives are also offered – Light White Grape and Light Red Grape. Shloer Bubbly is available in 750ml White and Pink variants, and is ideal for teetotal cork-popping occasions. The new Shloer Spritzed range comes in Bitter Orange, Grapefruit & Mint, and Bitter Lemon & Lime flavours. It is a light, dry, sparkling soft drink developed as an alternative to flavoured aperitifs. Also launched in 2019, was Shloer Pressed. Ideal for onthe-go enjoyment, 330ml cans are available in Strawberry & Lime, Rhubarb & Apple, and Mixed Berries varieties. 60


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Adult Soft Drinks


SNAPPLE The premium US juice drinks range has built a loyal following in the UK with six different options: Kiwi Strawberry, Lemonade, Mango, Apple, Fruit Punch, and Pink Lemonade. Cool packaging and quirky flavours make a change from the usual fare.

APPLETISER The teetotal trend has played a huge role in Appletiser’s growth in recent years with 25% of British adults actively seeking to moderate their drinking. This wellknown brand offers them a great-tasting alternative to alcohol that still adds a sparkle of sophistication to an occasion. It’s in growth by over 30.2% and will be a favourite soft option for many adults this festive period.

SCHEWEPPES How could we overlook Schweppes? Yes, it’s principally a mixer – it’s the biggest mixer brand in convenience – but there are also a few customers out there who like a little tonic or soda water on its own, or mixed with other fruit juices or soft drinks – as well as alcoholfree ‘mocktails’.

J2O GLITTERBERRY Who doesn’t like a bit of glittery sparkle at Christmas? J2O Glitterberry is the ideal option for adding a little glitz and glamour. This blend of grape, cherry and winter spices with edible gold glitter has proved itself to be a strong performer in the festive party season with J2O Glitterberry sales up 16% year on year. J2O also has a strong heritage as the adult soft drink of choice in the on-trade.



BUNDABERG Trust the Australians to do thing differently with this range of ‘brewed’ drinks, established 50 years ago in Queensland. The products are actually brewed, and the premium range includes six flavours: Ginger Beer, Root Beer, Blood Orange, Lemon/Lime & Bitters, Peach, and Pink Grapefruit. They also come in uniquely designed funky bottles to cut a dash at the Christmas party.



SAN BENEDETTO The premium soft drink with the dash of Italian style is made using the first squeeze of the fruit, apparently, and contains less than 70 calories per can so it should also appeal to those keeping an eye on what they’re eating as well as what they’re drinking. It’s available in two great flavours – Clementina (that’ll be orange to you and me) and Limone (lemon).

Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Volume Sales, MAT to 28.09.19, Adult Soft Drinks as defined by Britvic.






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The auld yin has been known to very occasionally deviate from the spiritual path that is ‘Grouse and ice’, particularly at special times of year like Christmas where he needs all the liquid help he can get to drag his wrinkled arse through another year of having to spend extended periods of time with his family. It’s on occasions just like this that he has been known to indulge in a wee JD and Coke. Wouldn’t it be amazing though if somebody invented a machine that pours limitless JD and Cokes ready to drink? Well, guess what... Now that’s got to take the edge off under-cooked turkey, over-boiled sprouts, cheap prosecco and in-laws.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS... Not often keen to talk about his politics, UTC can nonetheless be persuaded to offer an opinion or two on our esteemed Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Most of them – well, all of them – are unprintable.

Wouldn’t it be amazing though if Boris paid a visit to a Tetley factory just before a General Election and was photographed sipping a cuppa, just so that we could use an obvious caption. Well, guess what...



There’s nothing takes the fun out of Christmas for our resident curmudgeon quite like having to keep getting up to go to the fridge every half an hour for a fresh can and some ice for his dram. Wouldn’t it be amazing though if somebody invented a machine that went to the fridge for you and brought your aperitif of choice back on a silver tray? Well, guess what... A company called has launched the very dab. Unlike Mrs UTC, this wee bad boy will go to the fridge as often as your heart desires – and your liver can cope with. OK, technically it’s a champagne robot but UTC is sure that with a wee bash with a hammer and twist with a screwdriver it could be reconfigured to serve cans of Tennent’s Lager and glasses of Grouse with ice instead.



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It will no doubt astonish many astute readers of this fine organ to find out that UTC isn’t the world’s most reliable life partner when it comes to remembering to buy a Christmas card for Mrs UTC. Many’s the time he’s been sat in the boozer on Christmas Eve willing the clock to slow down when it it’s dawned on him that he’s forgotten to drop by his local independent retailing outlet to carelessly grab the first Christmas card that comes to hand for the love of his life. Wouldn’t it be amazing though if somebody invented a machine that you could put in a pub that let you print off personalised Christmas cards as you waited for the head on your beer to settle. Well, guess what... UK tech start-up Bulldog Kiosks has built the world’s first ever self-service customised gift card kiosk, which is being rolled out in pubs just in time for Christmas. Apparently, “Christmas revellers are using the kiosks in pubs to design their own festive gift cards for loved ones and friends”. Or just their wives. The touchscreen tech even takes a selfie of you to be added to the card, a service the old boy won’t be availing himself of, bearing in mind the nick he’s usually in on Christmas Eve.

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Happy Hogmanay 2020

1 IRi Market Place, Volume Share, Total Tobacco Category, North Scotland, Central Scotland & Border Regions Combined, over the last 12 months to Sep 2019 (based on slope calculation)

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Profile for 55 North

SLR December 2019  

SLR December 2019 edition. SLR is the ONLY magazine exclusively aimed at the locally-owned convenience sector in Scotland.

SLR December 2019  

SLR December 2019 edition. SLR is the ONLY magazine exclusively aimed at the locally-owned convenience sector in Scotland.