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2 Minutes with P&G’s convenience chief


The next big thing in local retailing?


Technology is clearly the future – but where should retailers start?

News: Booker and Tesco announce merger of biggest wholesaler and biggest retailer Cover.indd 1

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry



Golden Casket Group, Fort Matilda, Greenock PA16 7SZ Tel: (01475) 721099 Fax: (01475) 784644

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February 2017


Contents ISSUE 166


Illicit trade JTI removes two more gantries in England as part of a battle against illicit trade. p5 Merger Tesco and Booker announce a merger of the UK’s biggest retailer and biggest wholesaler. p6 Even bigger breakfast Nisa Markinch hosts largest SGF Healthy Living Big Breakfast yet. p8 Bestway charity donation Wholesaler donates £100k to Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme. p10 News Extra Job satisfaction A new report shows low morale on the high street but local retail bucks the trend. p18 Product News Summer ice cream from Unilever, plus Mars Petcare launches super premium food line. p20 Off-trade News Carlsberg limited edition, legal action for K-Cider and Innis & Gun goes alcohol free.







INSIDE BUSINESS p22 2 Minutes of Your Time John Drake P&G’s UK Director for Convenience on the relaunch of ShelfHelp. p24 Trending Technology Thoughts on the likely impacts of new developments in the digital age. p26 Free-from Growth How retailers can make the best of the trend for free-from foods. p29 Healthy Living Biggar Successful event raises awareness in the Borders market town. p31 Cross Party Group The latest meeting of the CPG highlights some great work already being done by the sector. p32 Future of Retail The annual him! London seminar says food to go isn’t the only fast opportunity for retailers. p34 SLR Rewards 2017 Judging panel for 2017 Rewards unveiled. p36 SLR Rewards Winners Meet another couple of the winners of last year’s Rewards and find out what they won. p40 The Big Interview Pete Cheema SGF Chief Executive reflects on 2016. p42 Woodlands Local The year begins with a new EPoS system and some renewed focus on food-to-go and e-cigs. p44 Hotlines Miniature cookies to share will do nothing for your waistline and everything for your biscuit sales. FEATURES p46 Easter Retailer’s guide to leveraging one of the key sales periods in the year. p50 Category Guide – Sugar Confectionery New category management series kicks off with a guide to sugar confectionery, in association with Wrigley. p52 Forecourts How to tempt drivers away from the pumps and into the store - the latest ideas from the key players. p60 Breakfast Cashing in on the retail opportunities around the first meal of the day.

ON THE COVER p14 Embracing technology Technology is set to have a huge impact on local retailing in the near future - so it’s time for retailers to get ahead of the curve.

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31/01/2017 15:26:25

News CRIME Illicit trade targeted

More cash machines could charge Nearly 40 banks and ATM providers met recently to discuss how to resolve a dispute over the fees that lenders must pay to one another when their customers use ATMs operated by a rival. Some of the 39 members of the Link network, which connects 70,000 cash machines, are threatening to begin charging, arguing that the fees they receive for the use of their ATMs do not cover the costs of operating them. Charging was much more common until a decline started about two decades ago. A spokesman for Link said its

JTI removes two more gantries in fight against illegal tobacco Tobacco manufacturer JTI has started the year by demonstrating its ongoing commitment to help tackle the illegal trade. During the Christmas and New Year period JTI removed gantries from two stores in England. Both stores had been successfully prosecuted for dealing in illegal tobacco and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £3,245. In addition, JTI has informed the owner of a store in Harrow that they will no longer receive support and expertise from the company following

action by the local authority revoking their premises license for dealing in illegal tobacco and alcohol. “JTI has again demonstrated its commitment to take action against those retailers found to be selling illegal tobacco,” said Charlie Cunningham-Reid, UK Head of Corporate Affairs. “Ahead of the 20 May deadline, any retailer who attempts to exploit the new environment will find that alongside tobacco manufacturers, Trading Standards Departments and

HMRC will continue to investigate, disrupt and prosecute those involved in the illegal tobacco trade.”

commercial model was under review and that the company was working hard to resolve this in the next couple of months.

NFRN becomes Federation of Independent Retailers

CATEGORY MANAGEMENT Category management programme updated

P&G relaunches ShelfHelp to grow convenience sales

Following approval at its November National Council meeting, the NFRN has rolled out new branding. An updated logo now carries the strapline ‘Federation of Independent Retailers’. A spokesperson for the Federation said: “This refreshed logo clearly reflects what the NFRN is all about – representing independent retailers.” The rebranding resolves the problem where politicians and other stakeholders ask “What is the NFRN?”

Outlook improves for UK local newspaper groups UK local newspaper groups were

Procter & Gamble is revamping its ShelfHelpers scheme to boost sales within the convenience channel, across its core categories – Laundry, Health & Beauty, Homecare and Baby. Following the successful upgrade of its category management website, P&G has been busy recruiting ‘ShelfHelpers’ from the ranks of

retailers. Members of the team have each made a commitment to work alongside P&G to help develop solutions that will drive future sales for the wider retailing community. John Drake, the Director of Convenience at P&G UK said the launch signified an important step-change in how the company communicates with retailers. “ShelfHelp was the first category management website of its kind and has been used by countless retailers since its creation over a decade ago. At P&G, we remain driven to provide the most relevant and up-to-date retailer advice possible, and to do so we must be on the ground and at the forefront of what’s going on at the heart of the industry.”

able to report good news on their share prices last month, when Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press enjoyed strong rises on the back of encouraging forecasts and fresh disposals respectively, as reported in the Financial Times. Trinity Mirror stock rose as much as eight per cent, after the publisher of the Daily Mirror and more than 200 local and regional papers said that it expected its full-year performance to be “marginally ahead of expectations”, with net debt

CASH Cost of living could hit retailers

Inflation hits disposable incomes The cost of living is rising at its fastest rate in over two and a half years as the impact of weaker sterling begins to feed through to consumers, says Richard Lim, Chief Executive of Retail Economics, an independent economics research consultancy. “Rising food inflation will be one of the areas families feel the pinch first. With many households ‘just about managing’, discretionary spending

power will come under intense pressure – especially for the least affluent. Indeed, we forecast inflation to rise to 3% in 2017, which is expected to plunge real earnings into reverse by late summer. What’s more, consumer credit is accelerating at the fastest pace since the financial crisis and rising costs of living will make repaying credit card bills much more challenging.”


Williams returns to FWD Former Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) Chairman and ex-Landmark Wholesale Managing Director Martin Williams is returning to the FWD management team in a part-time capacity as Associate Director. As Chairman from 2013-16, Williams played an important role in expanding FWD’s offer to supplier members, including building the collaborative Supplier Council and establishing the popular How to Win in Wholesale seminars. In his new part-time role he will be working closely with supplier members to ensure FWD is supporting their objectives and priorities in the wholesale channel, and engaging potential members to help sell the benefits of closer co-operation with wholesalers through the trade association. Martin brings with him more than 30 years’ experience working with supply chain partners. “I thoroughly enjoyed my three years as FWD chairman and I’m delighted to be part of the team that is bringing wholesale together to improve understanding and efficiency in our sector.”



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News MERGER News of Tesco and Booker tie-up takes industry by surprise

Tesco and Booker to merge Tesco, the UK’s biggest food retailer, and Booker, the UK’s largest wholesaler, have announced a merger. The £3.7bn deal has reportedly been a year in the making but still took the industry by complete surprise. The plan is likely to attract the attention of the Competition and Markets Authority as Booker supplies around 5,500 stores in the UK, but will argue that every one of these stores is independently owned. Dave Lewis, Chief Executive of Tesco (pictured, left) said the merger with Booker will further enhance Tesco’s growth prospects by creating the UK’s leading food business with combined expertise in retail, wholesale, supply chain and digital. His counterpart at Booker, and set to join the Tesco board,

Charles Wilson (pictured right), said Booker is committed to improving choice, prices and service for independent retailers, caterers and small businesses. “We believe that joining forces with Tesco offers the potential to bring major

benefits to end consumers, our customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders.” Gary Hobbs, analyst at Investec Wealth & Investment, said it was a surprising move but had merits. “It takes Tesco much further into wholesale, allowing it to extract better terms. Dave Lewis was confident on the call of limited CMA interference as Booker doesn’t own the stores and where Tesco will have no influence over pricing. Having so much of the convenience market in the hands of a single player is bound to raise issues. Charles Wilson is seen as a major capture for Tesco and touted as Lewis’s heir apparent.” Under the terms of the deal, Booker shareholders will own about 16% of the combined group. Shares in both companies increased significantly in the wake of the announcement.

Record month for Nisa charity Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally (MADL) charity has hit another record month. Retailers made a total of 243 donations to almost 200 UK good causes in November, including charities, schools and sports clubs, totalling £155,841. Kate Carroll, MADL charity manager, commented: “We are thrilled that so many of our retailers are engaging with their local communities through Making a Difference Locally, especially at this time of year when smaller local causes in particular may be in need of a little extra support.”

Scottish confidence low, says FSB The latest Federation of Small Business (FSB) survey of business confidence says that while much of the UK is feeling

ECONOMY Exchange rate woes to be passed on to retailers

Supply price hikes likely The fall in the pound since the Brexit vote has triggered a round of price rises, as companies seek to offset weakening exchange rates. It has been reported that Premier Foods, which owns a protfolio of brands including Homepride, Batchelors and Ambrosia, may raise prices by as much as 5%, if negotiations with multiple chains are agreed. The implications for wholesalers are not yet clear, but are likely to be similar. “The situation on pricing differs between our different categories and brands, and is currently under discussion with our individual retail customers. On average we are considering rises around the mid single-digit mark,” a company statement said. It’s reported that the company is also considering

adjusting so-called “promotional mechanics”. Potential offers, such as free extra content, may cease. It’s not the first effect to be felt. Retailers will already be familiar with the widely reported spat between Unilever and Tesco over Marmite pricing, and with Mondelez taking the different approach of reducing content, notably by increasing the spacing between Toblerone segments.

good about the future, London and Scotland remain pessimistic. Scotland, with a negative index of 29%, is in sharp contrast to the country’s most optimistic region, North East England, on a positive 44%.

KitKat’s fingers burnt as judges reject trademark application An EU court has dismissed Nestle’s attempt to register the KitKat shape as a trademark for its chocolate biscuit bar, reported the Independent. The KitKat shape can now be used freely by other European manufacturers


Prison for racial attack over 21p argument A Glasgow man has been jailed for 12 months, after he racially abused two shop workers over an argument where he believed he had been short changed by the sum of 21 pence. Alan Luke, 39, was sentenced in January, with several other offences taken into consideration. The incident occurred at a store in Glasgow’s Maryhill last summer. Events rapidly escalated to physical harm, at which point the shop workers activated an alarm to summon police help. Addressing the broader matter of crime against retailers, John Lee of the SGF said racial abuse is completely unacceptable. “Ours is a very diverse industry – in Scotland over 40% of retailers as Asian British – and retailers have to be able to work in a safe and secure environment. We are working with MSPs to bring forward legislation to specifically protect shop workers and these incidents show the need for this.” Meanwhile, in separate incidents, three stores in Lanarkshire were subjected to attempted ‘ram raid’ attacks, with the intention of stealing ATMs, and an Aberdeen store was robbed twice in January.

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for the time being. In January, the UK High Court ruled that KitKat could not trademark the shape of its fourfinger bars, as part of a longrunning dispute with Cadbury, now owned by Mondelez International. Nestle has argued that its bar had been associated with the company since it was launched in 1935, and cited a survey showing 90 per cent of people associated an unbranded four-finger chocolate bar with the manufacturer.



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News HEALTHY LIVING Markinch Nisa plays host to largest ever SGF Healthy Living Big Breakfast

Weetabix bidding war The owners of Weetabix, Chinese conglomerate Bright Food, are on the brink of selling the brand to Barilla, an Italian firm and the world’s largest producer of pasta. The bid is reportedly worth £1.5bn, but if other interested parties come in for the British breakfast cereal, analysts believe the price could go as high as £2bn. Weetabix employs around 1,800 people at its manufacturing bases in England, but has been subject to some industrial unrest of late. It’s not known if this has prompted

Markinch Nisa plays host to biggest ever Big Breakfast Nisa Greens of Markinch recently played host to all 300 pupils from the town’s primary school as they staged the biggest Big Breakfast yet as part of the SGF Healthy Living programme. Dougie Anderson, Business Development Manager for Eros Retail, the owners of the award-winning store, said there was interest throughout the day. “We started at 9.30 and went right through to three o’clock, class by class,” he said. “Every single one of the pupils had the chance to come and visit and try some fruit, veg, and healthy foods. Not only that, it was a learning experience, we helped the kids find out more about some interesting produce. The

teachers loved it too, and the Healthy Living team think this may be the biggest event yet in the programme.”

the sale, but the Chinese owners failed to make an impact with the brand in their homeland.

Stewart Brewing sets up shop in Edinburgh Stewart Brewing has announced the opening of the Stewart’s Dockside Tap, a take-home craft beer shop with 10 fresh taps, from pale ales and double IPAs to sours and lagers. The shop, in Bernard Street, Leith, is open now.

Old fivers on the way out Almost 165 million old cotton paper £5 notes are still in circulation, only months before they cease being legal tender on 5 May. The Bank of England says that since introducing plastic

MENTAL HEALTH Support network leads new initiative

New support scheme from GroceryAid GroceryAid is supporting the ‘I’m Fine’ campaign launched by the Mental Health Foundation to encourage those in the retail industry to open up about mental health and ‘bring back meaning’ to daily conversations. A recent study of 2,000 adults commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that the average adult will say “I’m fine” 14 times a week, although just 19% really mean it. GroceryAid is also working with Relate, the UK relationships support

charity, to provide free relationship counselling and support for people in the grocery industry. Relate counsellors and therapists are non-judgemental, impartial and everything that is told to them is completely confidential unless someone’s personal safety is at risk. The services are available through the GroceryAid Helpline advisers on 08088021122, or at www.groceryaid., which has a live chat feature.

fivers, the number of old notes in circulation has halved. However, paper fivers issued by banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland will remain legal tender. LOCAL RETAILER Popular newsagent closes in Edinburgh

Rare £2 coin could make you minted Tabloid newspapers have estimated that 3,000 Britannia £2 coins showing the Queen’s head upside down are in circulation, and they’re valuable to collectors. Some show the Queen’s head rotated clockwise by around 150 degrees and there are around 3,250 of the ‘inverted’ £2 coins in circulation. That represents about one in 200. If sold through a reputable source, the coins can fetch up to £350. The error was due to a

Twins call it quits on New Year’s Eve A crowd of over 200 well-wishers turned out to celebrate with two of Edinburgh’s most popular retailers as they brought down the curtain on 36 years of convenience trading in the capital. Twin brothers Mohammed Arshad and Mohammed Afzal set up MA’s Newsagents in the Shandon district in 1980, and have been popular with the community ever since. Now, family commitments

TRADING Symbol group shows seasonal growth

Fresh is a Christmas success for Nisa Among the raft of figures from the festive period, Nisa was happy to return an improved Christmas trading performance on the back of increased investment in Christmas promotions, which led to a 2.7% rise in total sales to £235.6m with volume also up 3.2%. The group’s Fresh Produce range registered a 17.7% increase for the 10 week Christmas period. Nisa put this down to its Festive 5 offer, featuring five key Heritage own label produce lines. Nick Read, CEO Nisa Retail, was pleased that significantly greater investment in promotions had paid off. “We have delivered a strong promotional mix to drive sales and footfall in our members’ stores. This has been possible due to the strong momentum the business has now built in its three-year strategy, which has seen Nisa invest in and improve operational efficiencies while also delivering a consistently improving financial position.”

have persuaded the 59-year-old brothers to call it a day. The City Council, including leader Andrew Burns and local representative Gavin Corbett joined the celebrations. Corbett said the shop, known locally as simply The Twins, had been more than a shop for almost four decades, and was a place where no-one was likely to leave without a smile.



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News CHARITY Wholesaler makes donation to chairty

Tax deadline excuses do not impress HMRC Nearly one in four (24%) small business owners in the retail, catering and leisure industries have admitted that they previously failed to submit their online tax returns to HMRC in time to meet the strict 31 January deadline. Darren Nicholls, product manager for Informi, the consultants who compiled the report, said missing the deadline triggers an automatic £100 fine. “It’s an unnecessary waste of

Bestway donates £100k to Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme The Bestway Foundation has donated £100,000 to The Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, the charity established by HRH Prince Philip providing young people with opportunities to develop skills and prepare them for life and employment. The donation took place at Bestway’s HQ in Park Royal last month with Bestway Group Chief Executive Zameer Choudrey CBE and Bestway Wholesale Chairman Younus Sheikh presenting the DofE’s chief executive Peter Westgarth with a cheque for £100,000. Choudrey commented: “At Bestway Foundation, we

money to boost HMRC’s coffers, and small businesses should do everything in their power to comply with the deadline.”

Sale of PayPoint Mobile PayPoint has sold its mobile payments division to Volkswagen Financial Services AG for

have worked with the DofE for over 20 years and take great pride in our Gold Partner status. During this time we have experienced first-hand the incredible work the charity does in preparing young people for their future. In order to bring out the best in them, we have to instil a sense of purpose, responsibility, accountability and resilience in their formative years.” Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive at the DofE says, “At the DofE we were extremely honoured to be Bestway’s principal charity partner in its 40th anniversary year. As a charity we will enhance the lives of two million 14-24 year olds across the social spectrum over the next six years. Our partnership with corporate supporters is an incredibly important part of our fundraising efforts in our mission to make a real, long-term difference for many young people from all walks of life. This generous donation from Bestway, and their continued support, will go a long way to helping us make a step-change in the number of young people whose lives we will impact and transform.”

£26.5m. Dominic Taylor, PayPoint’s chief executive, said he was delighted to have found such a well-suited company to acquire the business. “We can now direct our entire focus on the development of our retail business, including the continued rollout of our new PayPoint One terminal and EPoS.”

Radio Times could go German The Radio Times may find new German owners. Publishers Hubert Burda are in talks to buy its parent company, Immediate Media. Any deal will however

SYMBOLS Costcutter unveils first pilot store under new branding

‘Shopper First’ pilot store takes off Costcutter Group has opened the first pilot store of its Shopper First ‘brand transformation’ initiative to drive retailer sales growth. The Group has high hopes for the programme, bringing together new brand and store design, store-level shopper insights and sales driving range initiatives. Located in the South Yorkshire village of Darfield, the 2,800 sq.ft. new build store is owned by long-standing Costcutter retailers Ron and Yvonne Ford and is the first store to feature the new Costcutter brand look and strapline: ‘Shop The Way You Live’. Further pilot stores will be opened by the end of March. RETAIL Better than expected figures for essentials

Food sales boost ‘Too easy to turn pubs into stores’ says BBPA over Christmas

require final consent from BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm. Hubert Burda already owns some other popular lifestyle titles in the UK.

Litter still a problem A new litter study has revealed that carrier bag litter in Scotland is up 38% since February 2014, despite the introduction of the plastic bag charge in October 2014 in a bid to tackle litter. The study, commissioned by the environmental organisation INCPEN and conducted by Keep Scotland Beautiful, was carried


December figures, from the SRC-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor, showed encouraging growth. Total Food sales increased 2.5% on December 2015, pulling the three-month average to 1.1%, the best since December 2013. Ewan MacDonaldRussell, of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said a good Christmas was a real boost to Scottish retailers, but there are some worries ahead. “A number of economic indicators suggest that inflation is affecting input costs for retailers, and that’s already starting to feed through to the High Street. Those costs also mean that whilst total sales value may rise, that may not correlate with an increase in retail profits. Consequently, both customers and retailers are likely to continue to feel the squeeze over the early months of 2017.”

Planning rules make it too easy to close pubs and turn them into stores, according to the British Beer & Pub Association, which has raised the matter at Westminster. In a move that may be seen as divisive, MPs voted down an amendment to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, which would have precluded former pubs from becoming local trading premises, such as convenience stores. “If a pub is no longer viable and is boarded up while awaiting planning permission to change its use, no one benefits,” said the Association’s chief executive, Brigid Simmonds. Current legislation means that planning permission is not needed to turn a local pub into a store, under permitted development rights. The opposite is not the case. The Bill is currently at the committee stage.



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News Extra

Employment | Careers In Retail

NewsExtra EASTER CAN STILL BE A PROFIT CENTRE FOR RETAILERS P46 CAREERS Local retail offers local job opportuities as new report paints downbeat picture

Convenience Matters with the SGF

BIG HEARTED RETAILERS Community engagement through a range of activities has always been absolutely central to independent convenience stores in Scotland. Or so we think. In 2015 the first Scottish Local Shop report showed that 87% of retailers in Scotland were regularly involved in community activities. These included: collecting money for a national or local charity; providing funding – or in kind support – to a community event; providing sponsorship to a local sports team, community council or local business association meeting. The 2016 report highlighted that community engagement had dipped slightly to 83%. Across the UK the highest level of engagement is in the South West of England where 90% of retailers are regularly involved in community-based activities. Outside the urban maelstrom of London (74%), the North East of England has the lowest at 80%. We can’t say for certain that this is an ongoing trend but it would be of some concern if one of the central pillars of the independent convenience store industry in Scotland was being slowly eroded for whatever reason. We know that the cumulative impact of a range of cost pressures are leading to job losses, reduction in staff hours and retailers taking on more work themselves – in 2016 more than 20% of shop owners in Scotland took no holidays and almost 25% worked more than 70 hours per week. Could it be that we are seeing yet another unintended knock-on effect of the growing pressure of costs, that retailers are scaling back their involvement with their communities. If so we have to be brave enough to recognise that there is a problem and ensure that this vital aspect of retailing remains as strong as it should be.



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RETAIL JOB SATISFACTION While the wider retail industry has traditionally had a patchy track record when it comes to job satisfaction, there’s much to be positive about the local retailing trade despite a damning new report by Investors in People.

Linda Williams, Premier Broadway Convenience Store, Edinburgh

Paul Devoy, head of Investors in People, based in London

Best known for its people management standard, the Investors in People organisation has just published its annual Job Exodus Trends report, which claims that retail workers are planning to move jobs en-masse this year. While the report covers the retail sector in general, the findings have been soundly refuted at grassroots in convenience stores around the country. Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, said his organisation was expecting to see British workers planning to stay put in the face of economic uncertainty, but has seen “exactly the opposite”. He commented: “There is a significant rise in people seeking to move employers in 2017 and a jump in jobs confidence. Workers are telling us they want to move for better pay, better management and flexible working. This sends a clear message to British business to invest in your people or risk losing them.” Edinburgh Premier retailer Linda Williams refutes much of this, however. “I personally find that most staff are very reluctant to change jobs,” she told SLR. “In our sector, most of our staff are very local, and that definitely plays a part as transport costs to and from work can be costly. More important than that, most local retailers offer regular shift patterns, which many other parts of the retail industry do not. If you only have childcare in the mornings, or can only work when your spouse is at home in the evenings after their own work to look after the kids, then that regularity is absolutely vital, and without it, you are out of the job market completely. We have structured all our staff shifts

around their own availability. That way, they are reliable, and that for us is the most important factor. Plus, setting their own working hours to suit them shows a consideration for their own lives, and allows them that work-life balance, which is incredibly important if a steady work pattern is to be maintained.” It’s no secret that many employees in high street retail feel undervalued, or are there on a temporary basis but convenience is substantially different, since many employees are working there, in their community, in small or family businesses, and may even have a stake in the business. Given that, and the recovering economy, which makes more opportunities available, the Job Exodus Trends report figure of 59% seeking a new challenge is unlikely to come to fruition in local retailing. If anything, the poor economic state of the past eight years will have suppressed job opportunities, and a growing economy provides incentive to look at what might be available. “I would hope that our staff feel more loyal to us than they would to Tesco, say, and certainly we do treat them more as people,” says Linda Williams. “We consult them about changes or improvements to the store, and often take up their suggestions; we often help out with things if they are in difficulty, and we have even been guarantor on a rental agreement. This does make a difference to everyone at the store, and it’s the sort of thing that makes convenience retail buck the lack of loyalty trend.”

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TESCO AND BOOKER: OBVIOUS IN HINDSIGHT? Friday 27 January was set to be a quiet day at the office in SLR Towers. Tie up a few loose ends and plough on with the March issue. Then Tesco and Booker made a small announcement to the Stock Exchange about the biggest deal the industry has ever seen. And that’s no under-statement. Friday went out of the window. SLR had already gone to press but we halted that to allow us to carry this landscape-altering news and attempt to quickly digest the fact that a merged Tesco-Booker business will control a truly enormous portion of the UK’s food sales market. In many ways, the deal is classic Charles Wilson. A deal that initially looked entirely leftfield but suddenly seems obvious once you have had the chance to think about it. Not a million miles from the general reaction to Booker’s acquisition of Makro, for instance. For all the hysteria that surrounded the announcement, the deal makes a lot of sense to both parties. It’s estimated that Tesco will add an additional £200m a year to its bottom line over the next three years, give or or take a fiver. For Booker, the deal gives its Premier, Londis, Musgrave and cash and carry customers access to buying power and a supply chain unmatched in the UK. Booker’s increasing stranglehold at the symbol group end of the UK local retailing trade only looks to be heading in one direction. Not bad for a business that was quite literally on the verge of going bust when Wilson took over as Chief Executive just a dozen years ago. Whether the deal will be referred to the markets watchdog is an interesting question. There would be little chance of Tesco being allowed to buy a controlling share in a business that owned almost 5,500 independent stores. But as we all know, Booker doesn’t own them – every single one is owned by an independent retailer. So where does that leave us? Only time will tell. In the meantime, Wilson has assured his Booker colleagues that he’ll be there for at least the next five years – and many observers, including the Financial Times, are already touting him as the next CEO of Tesco. On a less serious front, there is also the burning side-issue of how the SGF will explain having a Tesco man as President for the first time in its 99 year history. (With apologies to Dennis, a man who can take a joke.)

EDITORIAL Publishing Director Antony Begley 0141 222 5380 | Editor Simon Walton 0141 222 5387 | Editoral Assistants Iain Hoey 0141 222 5385 | Émer O’Toole 0141 222 5387 | Web Editor Findlay Stein 0141 222 5389 |

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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 may 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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© 55 North Ltd. 2017 ISSN 1740-2409.

31/01/2017 13:40:02

Cover Story

Convenience Retailing Technology

THE TIME TO EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY IS NOW New technologies are set to dramatically change the convenience retailing landscape, but retailers who fail to embrace those changes risk being left behind and losing their most important USP. BY ANTONY BEGLEY


t only takes a quick look around the food retailing marketplace to see that new technologies are transforming our industry – from slick payment systems and personalised communications systems, to smart fridges and self-scan tills – and it’s easy to understand why. As it gets tougher and tougher to generate profits, retailers are being forced to seek areas where they can increase revenues and cut costs. For many, the only obvious cost-cutting option is staffing. Staff represent the single biggest overhead for every bricks and mortar retailer, so it’s tempting to consider replacing people with tech to help turn a profit. There are obvious dangers here, of course. The convenience retailing industry’s biggest USP is the friendly face and personalised service it presents to its customers. That USP is hard to replicate through technology, but for many retailers, tough times mean there is simply no choice but to examine all the options. In that sense, local retailers are being forced to try and square the circle of finding technologies that help increase sales and reduce overhead but don’t damage that vital relationship with the customer.

LACK OF UNDERSTANDING The reality is that, until relatively recently, very few technology suppliers considered the convenience retailing market a fertile hunting ground. The convenience market is notoriously difficult to service or even to sell to. Ask the major manufacturers whether they would rather have one meeting with Tesco’s head office and secure distribution in a nationwide network of stores, or spend months and years visiting every wholesaler and fascia group to try to secure listings and decent sitings – and that’s before you get to the level of selling to individual convenience stores. It’s broadly the same story for technology 14


Convenience Retailing Technology

Cover Story

“The system allows retailers to manage and track the entire customer journey pre-store, in-store and post-store, allowing them to actively engage with shoppers and influence behaviour at all stages.” DAVID MORGAN, COO, VELOCITY WORLDWIDE


increased sales of promoted products in Hi Street trial

ZAPPER Described by the company as a “data insight platform”, Zapper is essentially a nextgeneration loyalty, vouchering and discount solution built around a ‘tap and go’ payment app. Shoppers download the app and can use it pay at the till, as well as redeeming vouchers – and the system captures all transactional data into the bargain, providing insight for future activity. A recent month-long trial in seven Nisa stores in Peterborough delivered extremely encouraging results. Over 850 unique customers across the stores used Zapper for more than 4,800 transactions, with a 41% redemption rate across all vouchers issued to shoppers via the system. Zapper claims a 63% increase in weekly visits by loyal shoppers against the industry average and a 35% increase in basket spend with repeat visits by regular shoppers reaching 4.19 visits per week. Again, one of Zapper’s key strengths is the team behind it, a team well versed in the intricacies of independent retailing. The UK business is run by PayPoint veteran Gerry Hooper while ex-him! and MyLocal exec Jonathan Rons is Business Development Director. Hooper told SLR: “Zapper has a long history in the restaurant business but a few years ago we began the work of developing a new version specifically for the local retailing trade. We’ve built a strong team and we know we have a great solution – the Nisa trial demonstrated that quite clearly. We’ve created a simple to use product that benefits the retailer and the customer with a minimum of fuss.” Hooper also says that Scotland will be a huge focus for the business: “We’re targeting Scotland and we’re already making great headway with a number of the key players and hope to be able to make some big announcements on the front soon.”



Convenience Retailing Technology

Cover Story


increase in basket spend during Nisa Zapper trial

suppliers. The multiples represent the opportunity for quick wins on a large scale. Convenience is simply too difficult to target for many suppliers, so they haven’t bothered. But that’s changing, and it’s changing fast. The tech suppliers have learned what the major food brands have learned before them: the convenience channel is simply too large to ignore, even if it is a complicated route to market. But simply having an interest in establishing a foothold in convenience is only the start of

a long and at times painful journey for tech suppliers. Many have learned to their cost that local retailing has many intricacies, politics and relationships that are not obvious to those new to the market. Merely having a great piece of software or hardware is often not enough to secure sales in this industry. It’s who you know, not what you know, as the old saying goes. And even with a cool bit of tech, there are often many modifications and upgrades required to make it fit for purpose in local retailing. It’s an unfortunate truth, too, that very few tech solutions are driven by companies with an understanding of local retailing. Their expertise tends to focus on the nature of the tech itself, rather than the nature of the market that the tech will be used to service.


HI STREET DIGITAL MEDIA A quick-win solution for retailers that will instantly help enhance the appearance of their store and help drive sales of key brands is a media screen solution from new kids on the block Hi Street Digital Media. The system, in the words of the sales blurb, “provides convenience retailers and FMCG brands with a unique opportunity to target shoppers at the vital moment of decision making prior to purchase.” In other words, high quality digital media screens are fitted to the store free of charge to the retailer and feature a range of ads from major brands as well as providing space for store-specific promotions. The company claims that the screens have increased sales of promoted products by an average of 15.3%, whilst increasing footfall and basket size by 4.3% and 6.8% respectively. This isn’t a new idea; it’s been tried, largely unsuccessfully, by a number of companies, but Hi Street has taken a fresh approach and, vitally, has a team that understands convenience retailing behind it. Owned by a media and PR agency that handles many of the biggest FMCG brands in the world for the convenience trade, Hi Street has recruited Jonathan Daniels from The Grocer to head up its sales division. Daniels knows that side of the industry probably better than any other individual in the UK and is already opening up doors and bringing major manufacturers on board in droves.



Despite these varied and not insignificant hurdles, it’s clear that technology will play an increasingly fundamental role in convenience retailing in the very near future. The question local retailers must ask themselves – and soon – is not whether they should be examining the solutions available, but when. And the answer to that vital question is ‘now’. Your customers live in a digital age and most of them, particularly the younger generations, are entirely comfortable with technology; indeed, many of them expect to be able to do carry out certain tasks quickly and easily using technology like smartphone apps, self-scan systems and biometric scanning. Thanks to the prevalence of online retail sites like Amazon and increasingly sophisticated apps operated by the likes of Starbucks and Domino’s, these shoppers now have heightened expectations. They expect the retailer to know what they want, to understand their preferences and to deliver against them quickly, efficiently and with a minimum of fuss. This has profound implications for local

Convenience Retailing Technology

Cover Story

“The risk is that convenience retailing will lose that single, massively important USP that it has long enjoyed: a close, personal, tailored relationship with each individual customer.”

retailing. Amazon, for instance, now arguably understands its customers far better than any convenience retailing store. This is largely down to the fact that, unlike in the ‘real’ world, Amazon gets to see and understand every transaction every customer ever makes. It also has access to these customers’ browsing patterns, which lets it understand the types of things that customers are interested in and shopping for, which in turn lets it tailor its offers more precisely to the needs of the individual shopper. What’s not to like about that, from a customer’s point of view? The typical fascia group promotional programme of offering cheap deals on a wide and very diverse range of products to every customer that crosses the door seems like a very blunt tool when compared to Amazon’s ability to pitch only items that they know are relevant to individual shoppers. The risk, then, is that convenience retailing will lose that single, massively important USP

that it has long enjoyed: a close, personal, tailored, friendly relationship with each individual customer. The mults have never succeeded in emulating that relationship, no matter how hard they have tried. But online retailers are doing a much better job. The prospect of one-hour deliveries from Amazon is something most local retailers should be concerned about, particularly those in the big urban centres most likely to get that technology first. The beauty of technology, however, is that it provides local retailers with the tools to fight back and regain that ground. After all, your customers trust you and already have a great relationship with you – so you are the best-placed retailers to leverage technology to deepen and strengthen that relationship. The time to act is now, and while it’s tempting to sit tight and bide your time, there is a massive risk in allowing competitors to gain ever more ground before you jump.

DARIUS FOR RETAIL Already in use at our own Woodlands Local store and being trialled at a number of sites across Scotland, Darius for Retail is a unique solution that in essence provides a way of bringing together a wide range of technologies in-store, capturing and harnessing all of the available data and then turning that into actionable insights that result in highly personalised communications down to an individual shopper level. Darius allows users to bring all of their data from all sources into one place and analyse it quickly and accurately to drive powerful marketing communications campaigns. Its biggest strength is its ability to provide a hub around which all other in-store activity can be centred. It is capable of pulling data from EPoS systems, payment systems, WiFi, vouchering apps and more – providing users with a ‘single source of truth’ database and driving personalised communications to shoppers through the channel of their choice – email, SMS, etc – based on that individual customer’s transactional history and interests. In Woodland Local, Darius has helped consistently ensure that Rewards Club member basket spend is almost double that of non-member spend. COO David Morgan told SLR: “Darius for Retail has been created specifically for the convenience retailing trade and delivers tangible benefits for all stakeholders: the retailer, the customer, the wholesaler and the supplier. “The system allows retailers to manage and track the entire customer journey pre-store, in-store and post-store, allowing them to actively engage with shoppers and influence behaviour at all stages and deliver bigger basket spends and increased frequency of visit.”





Mr Kipling makes cuts Mr Kipling cake boxes are being downsized at the same


time as prices rise this year. Manufacturers Premier Foods confirmed cake price increases of ‘at least single digits’. Other products, including Bisto gravy and Oxo cubes, will go up too. Boxes of individually-wrapped


We all scream for 80p ice cream

cakes will be decreased in size – cutting down from nine portions to eight. Premier Foods will also get rid of its four cake boxes. Affected flavours will be Chocolate, Angel, Lemon and Caramel slices.

Pancakes love Nutella With Pancake day coming up at the end of the month, Nutella is returning to TV and OD with a £1.3m investment with its ‘Pancakes love Nutella’ campaign. The campaign aims to reach “99% of mums”, from January up until Pancake Day, which this year falls on Tuesday,

Wall’s is taking aim at the ever-growing sub-£1 market from this month with a new range designed for consumers of all ages, which is made up of Solero Strawberry Smoothie, Feast Sandwich and Wall’s Duo. All will be available as an out of home

single, and all carry an RRP of 80p. Solero Strawberry Smoothie is a strawberry sorbet made with 35% sustainable fruit and comes in at 49 calories per serving – appealing to the more health-conscious consumers. Feast Sandwich features a vanilla ice cream sandwich with a chocolate biscuit, chocolatey coating with nutty pieces. Wall’s Duo is described as “a tasty ice cream” which has been responsibly developed for kids in line with the brand’s commitment to nutrition. A £7m marketing campaign – named ‘Talking Ice Cream’ – kicks-off in March. The new range will be promoted through experiential, sampling, out-ofhome, online and social media activities.

28 February 2017.

Blast off with Quaker Quaker Oats is giving shoppers the chance to win ‘out of this world’ prizes with its latest onpack giveaway, which launches early in 2017. Promotional packs will contain a code which gives consumers a one in 10 chance to instantly


Choose your Trebor Popular mint brand, Trebor, is back on our screens as part of a £3.4m marketing campaign which aims to promote the newest addition to its portfolio, sugar-free Trebor Mighties, after its launch last autumn. The ‘Choose your Trebor’ campaign sees the return of the popular 2015 TV advert which features a father-son relationship highlighting that all Trebor mint eaters have their favourite product.

win space-themed prizes. The star prize, an eight-day holiday in Orlando for four people, includes a behind the scenes tour of the space shuttle Atlantis, hosted by a veteran astronaut. SOFT DRINKS

Reinventing the hoop Hula Hoops has revealed a new packaging design – its first rebrand in over a decade. Launched in January, the fresh look was developed by awardwinning branding consultancy Coley Porter Bell. Vijay Bhardwaj, head of marketing and formats, KP Snacks said: “Consumers love the playful nature of the product. Because of this we chose a deliberately evolutionary design with strong branding that enhances the product story

Coke’s zero sugar campaign CCEP has unveiled a new £4.5m advertising campaign to support Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. The campaign features the slogan ‘Tastes More Like Coke’, highlighting that the calorie-free variant delivers the same taste associated with Coca-Cola Classic, but with no sugar. The campaign features out-of-home and digital advertising. A new 20-second television commercial runs until the end of this month.




Product News.indd 18

31/01/2017 10:42:11



WIN EXTRA Cool Breeze bottles PET FOOD Mars Petcare launches ‘superfood’

Petcare’s Perfect Fit Mars Petcare has unveiled its new Perfect Fit line of pet food, a super premium nutrition brand that aims to deliver on shopper demand for high quality nutrition foods for their pets. Perfect Fit offers products which meet the nutritional needs of cats and dogs and provide a range of services that cater for their broader health needs, from exercise to mental stimulation. Launching last month, Perfect Fit cat products are available in 190g, 750g, 2.8kg and 7kg pack sizes. Available flavours include chicken, salmon and turkey for life-stages kitten, adult (1+) and senior (7+). The range of Perfect Fit dog products launches this month in 825g, 2.6kg, 6kg and 14.5kg pack formats. The launch of Perfect Fit is supported by a £3m activation campaign in the UK, including a TV advert, digital awareness campaign and a large sampling campaign. A full range of POS materials is available for retailers to bring the launch to life in store. ICE CREAM Magnum launches two new flavours

A double of doubles On shelf now and supported by a £10m media spend, two new variants have joined the popular Magnum Duo range: Magnum Double Raspberry and Magnum Double Coconut. the launch of Magnum Double Raspberry follows the claimed success of the limited edition Magnum Pink, which launched in 2015, but “takes the raspberry flavour to a whole new level” with an extra layer of raspberry sauce. Magnum Double Coconut includes creamy pulp and taps into the growing trend for coconut flavoured products. Both are encased in the iconic Magnum chocolate.

To celebrate the recent launch of Wrigley’s EXTRA Cool Breeze 60 pellet bottles, Wrigley is offering one reader the chance to win eight outers (48 bottles in total, RRP £1.99 each). Currently the fourth bestselling single format in the EXTRA portfolio, EXTRA Cool Breeze will be transformed into Wrigley’s popular bottle format to tap into consumer demand for increased format varieties to suit every gum usage occasion. To be in with a chance of winning, simply send an email containing your details to – or fill in the entry form below and post to: Extra Cool Breeze Competition SLR, Waterloo Chambers 19 Waterloo St Glasgow G2 6AY

CLOSING DEADLINE TUESDAY 28th FEBRUARY 2017 Terms and conditions: This competition is only open to readers of SLR. Only one entry per store is permitted. Entries received after the closing date will not be considered. The prize is not transferable and the judges’ decision is final.

Name: Company/store name:



Freddo faces inflation It has been confirmed that the recommended retail price of Cadbury’s popular chocolate Freddo frogs is set to increase from 25p to 30p this spring. A Mondelez spokesperson declined to discuss specific brands but confirmed there would be “selective” price increases across its range. The spokesman commented: “Increasing prices is always a last resort, but to ensure we can keep people’s favourite brands on shelf and look after the 4,500 people we employ in the UK, we are having to make some selective price increases across our range.”

Daytime phone number: Email Address: Twitter: Would you like to continue to receive a copy of SLR?




Product News.indd 19



31/01/2017 10:42:14



Alcohol-free Franziskaner The award-winning alcohol-free version of Germany’s famous


Franziskaner Wheat Beer is now available in the UK for the first time. Isabelle Maratier, European Marketing Manager at AB InBev said: “We are delighted to bring Franziskaner Alkoholfrei to the UK – especially at a time of year when we know many will be looking to cut back on alcohol and might be struggling to find enticing, authentic alternatives.

Thatchers craft cider Thatchers is shaking up its traditional craft cider range with the addtion of two new canned

FULL SERVICE FROM OUR FORECOURTS FEATURE FROM P52 CIDER Packaging does not urge rapid drinking says industry regulator

K Cider complaint thrown out by Portman A complaint that the packaging of K Cider promoted immoderate drinking and urged the consumer to drink rapidly or ‘down’ the product in one, has not been upheld by the alcohol industry’s Portman Group Independent Complaints Panel. The complainant, Portsmouth City Council, believed that the strength (8.5% ABV) of the

product plus the fact the product is served in a 500ml non-resealable can encouraged consumers to drink immoderately. The Panel discussed the size and prominence of the ‘8.5’ label and the words ‘imported’ and ‘extra strong’. The Panel concluded that as the product was available in various different strengths, it was useful to know

that the product was 8.5% ABV. However, they could not see anything on the packaging that would encourage a consumer to drink rapidly or to ‘down’ a product in one. The panel also arrived at a similar decision in another complaint, also raised by Portsmouth City Council, against the Dutch Oranjeboom lager.

ciders, Leaf Twister and Barrel Roller, to its portfolio. The range, which comprises cans, bag-in-box and draught ciders, has been named Stan’s, in honour of second generation cidermaker, Stan Thatcher. The new 330ml cans carry an RRP of £1.99.

35 Year Old Malt Award-winning Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced a second release of its limited edition 35 Year


Folkington’s gets crafty Sussex drinks company Folkington’s has launched a range of six premium mixers especially crafted to complement the ever-growing number of artisan gins, vodkas and dark spirits. The 150ml range is comprised of Indian Tonic Water, Dry Ginger Ale, Bitter Lemon, Lemonade and Club Soda. The mixers are designed to have strong shelf stand out in stylish fridge-packs of eight environmentally-friendly cans. The Folkington’s artisan mixer fridge packs are expected to have an RRP in the independent retail trade of £4.99 per pack, and are available from wholesalers.

Old expression, following the success of its first release in 2014, which sold out globally. GIN

Only 1,254 bottles of the rare

A toast to Rabbie Burns

whisky are available from specialist outlets around the world.

Shower Beer A Swedish brewer has teamed up with Stockholm-based design agency Snask to create a beer that you can drink in the shower. The 10% ABV Shower Beer from PangPang Brewery is a ‘sweet but strong’ pale ale bottled in 18cl bottles. The small packaging size is meant so that consumers can drink the beer in three sips while standing in the shower and getting ready for a night out. The high alcohol content, relative to other beers, means that the little brew won’t lose impact if accidentally diluted with


Pinot gets the pink treatment Barefoot Wine & Bubbly is introducing a pink Pinot Grigio in a plan to drive value back into the rosé category. The new 11% ABV wine has “a crisp and fruity style, full of tart apple, peach and raspberry flavours”. Olga Senkina, marketing director, said: “On the back of our success we are delighted to have established ourselves as a must stock range for retailers and we are certain that younger consumers will find Barefoot Pink Pinot Grigio as flavourful as it is affordable.” The newcomer (RRP £6.99) joins recent additions to the brand’s UK portfolio, including Barefoot’s Californian Malbec and Barefoot Chardonnay.

Field-to-bottle specialist distiller, Arbikie, launched its latest gin in time for ‘Burns Night’ on 24th January. AK’s Gin is named after Alexander Kirkwood Stirling, the father of Arbikie owners Iain, John and David. Director John Stirling commented: We’re delighted that AK’s Gin can be enjoyed as part of the ‘Burns Night’ celebrations. Our Dad is an inspiration to us and we wanted to create a gin that reflected his character and our family’s farming roots. He’s farmed all his life and is proud that we are distilling using our family’s own crops and is keen that we share that unique provenance with our Arbikie customers on-going.”




Off Trade.indd 20

31/01/2017 10:19:52



BEER Carlsberg unveils limited edition design

Carlsberg’s København Collection unveiled

The revitalisation of Carlsberg UK’s flagship brand continues with the launch of limited edition packaging for its 3.8% ABV beer – called ‘The København Collection’ – as part of a planned £15m marketing spend to connect with millennial drinkers which launches in April. The limited edition packs are available from the UK off-trade between February and September 2017 in a variety of can and bottle formats, including a new premium 330ml-sized bottle and outer packaging.

Liam Newton, vice president of marketing, Carlsberg UK said: “The København Collection is a bold launch for Carlsberg in the UK, marking 170 years of brewing excellence. These designs communicate Carlsberg’s unique place in beer in a manner that we believe will engage millennials.” The relaunch of the Carlsberg brand will celebrate the brand’s Danish heritage and taps into consumer demand for authenticity and the trend towards premiumisation in the beer category.

BAVARIAN BEER Single colour cans strike a pose on the beer shelves

And Union simplicity Munich-based And Union has gone for the minimalist approach with its new line of craft beers. “We wanted to create a can that you hesitate to throw away after you’ve had the beer. I end up leaving stacks of these empty cans in my kitchen because I feel bad throwing such a beautiful thing in the recycling,” explained Rui Esteves, And Union’s cofounder. The packaging is strikingly simple and bound to stand out on the shelf. The range is Unfiltered Lager in a plain white can (5% ABV), Steph Wiess in yellow (5% ABV) and Sunday Easy Pale Ale in orange (5.5% ABV). All are available now from wholesalers, in cases of 24 x 33cl cans. Visit for images of all three cans. ALCOHOL-FREE BEER

Innis and None Innis and Gunn has revealed “the first detoxing beer of its kind” to tap into the trend for lower or no alcohol products for increasingly popular alcohol-free periods such as Dry January and Sober October. The Scottish craft brewer has launched Innis & None, which is a 0.0% ABV pale ale, containing vitamin C and ginseng – ingredients understood to boost the immune system and improve energy levels – as well as guarana, which is thought to aid weight loss and enhance athletic performance. Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder, said: “The versatility of beer excited me as a brewer. Great beer does not necessarily have to contain alcohol. We approached brewing Innis & None, as we do with any of our beers, using quality ingredients to produce a bold flavoursome taste.”

Off Trade.indd 21


Diageo reports improved performance Drinks giant Diageo has posted net sales of £6,421m, up 14.5%, and an operating profit of £2,065m, up 28.0%, reflecting what it called accelerated organic growth and favourable exchange rates. Organic growth was achieved across all global regions with 1.8% volume growth and 4.4% net sales growth. Charles Ireland, General Manager, Diageo Great Britain, Ireland and France, said that Diageo GB continued to win share in the off-trade. Net sales for the six months to the end of 2016 were broadly flat. He said: “This performance was delivered through maintained momentum of the Guinness brand, healthy premium core portfolio performance, continued growth of the luxury reserve business, several successful Innovation initiatives and impactful activations with our customers.” Baileys saw net sales rise 2% while Captain Morgan also performed well with solid volume growth making the brand now the biggest brand in the rum category in Great Britain, overtaking Bacardi in value share.

Q: One of my employees has a conviction, but has turned her life around, and I want her to manage one of my shops. Does the conviction mean she has no chance of getting a personal licence? Michael replies: Having a conviction does not prohibit a licensing board granting a personal licence. The presence of a conviction will lead to the application being considered at a licensing board hearing, assuming the conviction is unspent and relevant. Convictions can become spent (treated as if they never happened) and only certain convictions are deemed relevant. Having your support and trust as her employer is also a major plus, so seek legal advice on the relevance of the conviction and move forward from there. Q: I want to run a pizza and beer deal for the Six Nations. I know I can’t put the beer in the pizza fridge but can I put the pizzas in the beer fridge? Niall answers: The law is equally strict on what can be displayed in the approved alcohol areas as it is on the location of your alcohol display. You cannot display nonalcohol products in the alcohol area with the exception of soft drinks and mixers, or a combined package i.e. a single package where the non-alcohol item can only be bought with the alcohol item. So, no pizza in the beer fridge. Q: A supplier has offered to do tastings of new products in store, including wine. Would I need an on-sales licence for this? Michael says: Tastings are not necessarily an on-sale. If customers bought a ticket or paid for their samples then this would be deemed a sale and your licence would require to permit on-sales. Assuming there is no sale and the tastings are free, then there is no requirement to have on-sales provision in your licence. Some boards and LSOs believe that tastings should be an activity listed in the licence. You should get some advice on before running the event.



31/01/2017 10:19:52

Inside Business

2 Minutes | John Drake, Director of Convenience, P&G

John Drake Changing course for the vast ship that is P&G is no easy feat. However, taking the helm of the UK convenience channel is John Drake, who has the relaunch and upgrade of the ShelfHelp category management website and a host of trading challenges and opportunities to keep him busy in the coming year. IN BRIEF, HOW IS SHELFHELP EVOLVING?

FACTFILE Having graduated from Royal Holloway as a Batchelor of Science in business, John Drake has spent a significant part of his career in senior roles with Procter & Gamble. Most recently he has been deeply involved in a reorganisation, which has seen the company streamline into ten divisions, and devote its considerable resources to product and market research. John holds the post of Director of Convenience at P&G UK at a time when the global company is celebrating 180 years in business and has grown to be a $65bn concern.


Most retailers will know that ShelfHelp was the first category management website of its kind and has been used by them since its creation over a decade ago. P&G is now bringing together a group of elite retailers to help boost sales within the convenience channel, across its core categories – Laundry, Health & Beauty, Homecare and Baby. This relaunch signifies an important stepchange in our approach to how we communicate with and help our retailers. ShelfHelpers have each made a commitment to work alongside P&G to help develop solutions that will drive future sales for the wider retailing community.

HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR BRAND THINKING? The change to more of a convenience retail environment has helped us see though a lens that’s not just big box supermarkets. We have to be able to design a range that’s suited to a replenishment shopping mission and we have to be very specific about what range and what SKU we can offer in that environment. We know from all the work over time what SKUs work in convenience. For example, we know we need to make a 500ml green Fairy Liquid available to retailers that’s more suited to their shelf space and the needs of shoppers in that channel.

HOW DOES THE EVOLUTION INTO ‘SHOPPING FOR LESS, SHOPPING MORE OFTEN’ PLAY OUT COMMERCIALLY FOR P&G? In a market where we have almost 90% penetration, we know that most shoppers will buy one of our core products, household or hair care for example, in their main shop. Our challenge, in the convenience channel is to make sure that the right variety, the right size pack at the right price in the right case size for the retailer is available as a signpost brand in that category. Case size is so important in the independent world.


2 Mins.indd 22

GIVEN THE DEPTH OF CATEGORY PENETRATION, WHAT ROLE DOES P&G PLAY INSTORE? I think convenience has made us think about our portfolio choice and the size of choices we have in the market. We do a lot of shopper psychology research into the role of the signpost brand. People react to certain shapes and brands and we do have a duty to send them to the right part of the store. We’re not interested in driving the Procter & Gamble SKU in isolation, unless it drives the category as well.

P&G HAS A WIDE BRAND PORTFOLIO. HOW DO RETAILERS GO ABOUT STOCKING A MEANINGFUL SELECTION? There is less interest within P&G of developing a product or brand unless it drives category growth. Taking the Fairy example again. It may be the signpost, but it drives shoppers towards other brands like Persil and Morning Fresh. We do take that role very seriously in terms of the signpost brand. We want to make it very clear for retailers too. I don’t really want to put five colours of Fairy in a wholesaler, if all shoppers want is the green variant and that’s all a retailer wants to stock.

YOUR PRICING AMBITION IS DOWNWARD, BUT INTERNATIONAL COSTS ARE RISING. HOW CAN YOU STICK TO LOWERING COSTS IN THAT ENVIRONMENT? This is the beauty of a portfolio of products. Some are manufactured here, some are international. Costs can balance out, so we can by and large control our price strategy regardless of exchange rate and raw material prices. We need to keep working on all fronts, with suppliers and with retailers, to manage a very tough economic environment. When you’ve been around for 180 years, and plan to be around for another 180 years, it does give you a different long term perspective.

31/01/2017 15:26:55

Inside Business

What’s Trending | #futuretech



With Amazon’s new people-less automatic store viewed as either the start of world domination, or just a glorified vending machine, technology is certain to touch every aspect of retail in the near future – so what do the data and tech challenges of 2017 mean to local retailers? Keith Fernie Director at David’s Kitchen The concept of stores that just scan and debit as you leave was science fiction not so long ago, Now one exists in Seattle. I’m not sure how smoothly it runs, but it’s taken someone like Amazon to get it up and running. How far away is the automatic store? I don’t know. There will always be something that needs a real person to handle, be it alcohol, tobacco or lottery, or just to help. People are now very comfortable with machine transactions, so whole idea of automatic retail is very much more acceptable. I think in future it could reduce staff depending on the spectrum of items offered for sale.

Next month


Retail technology has evolved dramatically over the years. With its back office, payment systems, direct link ordering and many other features it is a must for any progressive retailer. Media screens, smart refrigeration, LED lighting and electronic shelf labels all make your store more efficient while improving your customers experience. Web sites and social media allow you to engage with your customers to drive your business forward. History tells us that those who best adapt to change prosper while those who don’t get left behind. Embrace technology.

Steve O’Neill Director at PayPoint Only 41% of convenience retailers offer contactless and we believe contactless payments will increase at a significant rate as businesses update their technology offering in an increasingly digital retail environment. Similarly, adoption of EPoS is going to be key to success in the sector. Over one in three (36%) local retailers say that having enhanced technology and a better understanding of their customers is their biggest opportunity for growth. Currently, only half of all convenience stores have an EPoS system and we expect this to increase exponentially in 2017.

Shabaz Ali Owner at Costcutter in Falkirk I don’t consider myself particularly techie, but we all use it. I was actually having a WhatsApp chat yet said I don’t use social media! That’s how much tech and digital systems have become embedded in our lives. We’re using these systems far more than we think. It might be an ATM or a selfie, it doesn’t matter: we’re all becoming digitally native. What that means for retail in the future is that, whether we think about it or not, we’ll be talking to our customers and our suppliers through channels that will be second nature. The key is to make what we say worth listening to.

#Free-from What does the revolution in attitudes to free-from foods and products mean for your business? Email the editor at


Trending.indd 24

Eamonn de Valera Director, Navarra Retail Systems

31/01/2017 11:05:03

Untitled-2 1

26/02/2016 16:02:57

Inside Business

Special Diets | Free-From



rends in healthy eating have spurred a sharp rise in consumer demand for fresh produce and ‘free-from’ lines. What was once a purchase of necessity is now increasingly the diet of choice for shoppers, keen to maintain and improve their well being, often with an ethical angle thrown in. With those shoppers also likely to support local businesses, there’s an incentive to cater for this premium market. According to analysts Mintel, around a third of British consumers are consciously purchasing free-from foods in any six-month period. “The ‘health halo’ of free-from foods is a key driver of uptake and has resulted in a much larger group of users than the limited number of actual or suspected allergy or intolerance sufferers,” said Kiti Soininen, Head of UK Food, Drink & Foodservice Research at Mintel, in support of data published last year. “The importance of health in driving uptake also means that companies need to ensure that nutrition profiles are best in class.” Free-from has become a generic term for food and drink that has been designed to exclude one or more ingredients to which at least some consumers can have



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31/01/2017 10:31:52

Free-From | Special Diets

Inside Business


N FOR VENIENCE TOR With interest in free-from foods and high quality, healthier local produce spiking, an opportunity exists for convenience stores to satisfy premium demand. BY SIMON WALTON

either an allergy or an intolerance. Typically, this might refer to gluten present in wheat, or to dairy products in general. It’s also a term increasingly used to describe vegetarian and vegan choices, sugar- and salt-free variants, and diets based on ethnic and religious observance. There’s also a growing body of opinion that, far from medical allergies and intolerances, consuming foods with alternative base ingredients can be a healthier lifestyle choice.

GROWING MARKET However it is defined, the category is now big business. In further research by Mintel, quoted by Quaker Oats in support of its recent launch of two gluten-free variants, the UK ‘free-from’ market is currently worth £470m and is predicted to grow by 43% between now and 2020. The manufacturer says that is down to consumers increasingly looking to lead a healthier lifestyle. It goes on to note that

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gluten-free products are specifically aimed at those who suffer from coeliac disease, noted by NHS sources as “a common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to that combination of proteins”. Although many consumers prefer to reduce the amount of gluten in their diets as part of

“Local retailers can provide a range that comprehensively meets the needs of their regular customers.”

a lifestyle choice, there persists a perception that free-from foods may even be a medical necessity. Taking his own product as an example, Jeremy Gibson, who is Marketing Director for Nutrition at Quaker Oats, says the market is currently worth £4.2m, up 20% year on year, since 2015, demonstrating that it presents a growing opportunity for retailers. While obviously commercially driven, Gibson says that the company is consistently seeking ways to better meet consumer needs. “Leading a gluten-free lifestyle is important and necessary for some people and so Quaker has created two gluten-free options to meet consumer demand. Gluten is a protein which occurs naturally in wheat, rye and barley. Although oats are naturally glutenfree, they may come into contact with grains containing gluten during farming, storage or transportation. Quaker Oats has introduced a breakthrough process, believed to be unique to the industry, to sort and clean the oats, FEBRUARY 2017 | SLR


31/01/2017 10:31:52

Inside Business

Special Diets | Free-From

ensuring they cannot be contaminated with gluten.” The business case stacks up, when taking into account that the trend for alternative base ingredients leads to generally more expensive products. It’s something of a myth that freefrom shoppers are less price conscious than average consumers. There is survey evidence to show that over half of free-from consumers complain that price differentials between free-from and non-specific equivalents are too wide. There may be a number of reasons for that – most obviously market size and greater competitiveness in the general marketplace, but there is clearly an opportunity for retailers to do better business with potentially higher margins available. If the biggest drawback of adopting a free-from diet is additional cost, then the situation can only improve for consumers as the market continues to grow, putting more attractively-priced products on the shelves at wholesalers and, ultimately, in local retail stores.

HEALTHIER OPTIONS “Healthy living options are always something that we endorse,” said John Lee of the Scottish Grocers Federation. “The Healthy Living Programme that the SGF runs is very much a champion of the category, and also goes a long way towards addressing price and choice issues. It’s true that local retailers do have an opportunity to better know their own customers, so by exploiting that knowledge of local needs, they can provide a range that comprehensively meets the needs of their regular customers, while maintaining good stock control and margins.” Consumers who choose specific dietary requirements typically spend £2,000 a year more on groceries than those who don’t. That figure comes from a recent nationwide survey of over 2,000 consumers, conducted by discount agency VoucherCodesPro. It found that vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and halal diets cost consumers, on average, an estimated £162 per month extra. The company’s George Charles said there were valid reasons for the premium spend, particularly on so-called health products. “Different machines or ingredients will likely be required in order to make these products and these could well cost more than the standard fare.” While there is room to debate the figures,

“Around a third of British consumers are consciously purchasing free-from foods.” 28


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“Free-from is now nearly 40% bigger than that signature staple of British consumption, tea.” there is general anecdotal evidence that freefrom is not the bargain-basement choice. However, that doesn’t seem to be deterring the market. Further independent research shows the year on year growth in free-from products to be in the region of 15% or more, and that predictions for the trend remain optimistic. “As more and more of us take up selective diets, from low-carb to gluten-free,” said George Charles, “we may see the prices drop as it becomes cheaper to bulk produce these items, but if the food costs the manufacturer more it will also cost the consumer more, too.”

SPACE CHALLENGE Dedicating more shelf space to speciality products may not appeal to local retailers with limited space and rigid planograms but the category is growing in importance, and worth a new look. “To some, free-from may still have the air of an ‘alternative’ or niche category but it’s now nearly 40% bigger than that signature staple of British consumption, tea,” said Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight at consumer insight researchers Nielsen. “The nation is increasingly concerned about diet and health. Over four in 10 Britons now actively avoid certain ingredients in what they eat and drink, which is reflected in fresh fruit and free-from being the fastest-growing categories.” To date, the trend for free-from has not generally touched the local retail market to the same extent as supermarkets and specialist stores, but that could be about to change. “While research has been mainly carried out in the multiples,” said John Lee of the SGF, “it’s an encouraging area of growth and one that local retailers should certainly consider.”

31/01/2017 10:31:53

Healthy Living Days | Community Engagement

Inside Business

HEALTHY EATING A PRIMARY ISSUE IN BIGGAR Biggar Best-one retailers Bruce and Donna Morgan played host to kids from the local primary school in December as part of a Healthy Living drive to expose the kids to a wider, healthier range of foods.


est-one retailer Donna Morgan’s son is to blame for getting her involved with the latest development in the SGF Healthy Living Programme. Speaking from outside her busy Brownlie’s store on Biggar high street, she explains: “We’ve been in the store for over a decade but we took over the post office four years ago, and, on one of our visits to the local school, my son, who’s a pupil there, just told everyone that now they could post their letter to Santa at our shop. Needless to say, the preChristmas annual visit by the P1 class has become a tradition ever since.” As a result, Donna and her husband Bruce now have the local primary one pupils over to the store at the start of December for a tour. That little act of local community engagement has blossomed into a strong relationship with the local school and was enhanced by some new activity in December with the SGF Healthy Living team.

HEALTHY LIVING DAYS The retail couple worked with SGF Healthy Living development manager for the west, Yvonne MacDonald, to run a Healthy Living event at the same time as the Christmas letter visit – and it proved a huge success for all concerned. Designed to be a smaller version of the well known ‘Big Breakfast’ format, the new format Healthy Living days are a simpler way for retailers to dip their toes into the programme by helping them engage with local schools to showcase healthier products without such a big commitment of time and staff. Following the well-established formula, the kids tasted and learned about all sorts of

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different fruits and foods, and chatted with Donna, Bruce, Yvonne and some of the team from the store’s symbol group, Bestway, who’d come along for the day too – just to see that Scots children really do know their five a day after all. James Hall, symbol development director at Bestway Wholesale, said the ethos of being at the heart of the community is something that is shared by all their members. “We have invested significantly in introducing a range of healthier eating options – including our growing range of Best-in fresh fruit and vegetables – to urge members to grow their fresh offer and provide shoppers with alternatives that will deliver greater nutrition and allow them to adopt healthier eating lifestyles.”

FRESH START The day proved popular with everyone, and around 40 pupils left with a goodie bag full of healthy treats. For the grown-ups, there was a bowl of warming homemade lentil soup, along with the chance to try some more unusual fruits too. Ross Kerr, who runs the SGF Healthy Living programme, says there are big benefits for retailers. “Lots of children visited the shop that day to sample healthier products and of course their parents are interested as well, so footfall increases and basket spend rises because customers are buying into categories they don’t normally buy into.” Donna concludes: “The kids loved the whole day, they got to learn a little about what healthier eating means to them and how easy it is to do – and they had a great time into the bargain.”

Donna and Bruce Morgan.



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30/01/2017 16:56:48

Third Meeting | Cross-Party Group

Inside Business


The Cross-Party Group on Convenience Retailing met for the third time at Holyrood last month and took the chance to highlight some best practice activity the industry has already carried out. BY ANTONY BEGLEY


he third official meeting of the ground-breaking Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Convenience Retailing took place at Holyrood last month as another packed room gathered to get down to the very important business of highlighting the huge value, scale and importance of the Scottish local retailing trade to the wider Scottish economy. The focus of the most recent meeting was firmly on making Scotland’s politicians aware of some of the great best practice work already being carried out locally, on issues like responsible alcohol consumption and healthier eating. The precise role that local retailers should play in reducing alcohol consumption and improving diets is a contentious issue, but the reality remains that the local retailing trade has been among the most active parties in furthering the healthier, happier agenda that the Scottish Government is keen to pursue. It was exactly this point that the meeting was intended to drive home to the MSPs in attendance and was based around two insightful presentations given by Police Scotland and Edinburgh Premier retailer Linda Williams. The Police Scotland talk, given by Alistair Anderson and Scott Brown, outlined the success of a Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership campaign, carried out in the Motherwell and Wishaw area, aimed at reducing proxy alcohol purchasing, under-age drinking and attendant anti-social behaviour. The ‘You’re Asking For Trouble’ multi-agency campaign saw Police Scotland, the North Lanarkshire Community Safety Partnership and North Lanarkshire Council work together from April to October 2016 with retailers to clamp down on under-age drinking and was hailed by Anderson as a “phenomenal success.” He told the CPG: “I’ve been 29 years in policing and I’ve worked in a lot of partnerships in that time, but I would have to say that was a standout partnership, and it shows just what can be achieved when it’s done well.” In total, over the six-month trial, reported drinking offences fell by 20%, calls to the Police about drink-related issues fell by 50%, reports of anti-social behaviour fell by 13%, and reports of alcohol-related

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social behaviour fell by 21%. Encouragingly, the “vast, vast majority” of convenience retailers were enthusiastically supportive with only “three or four premises proving quite uncooperative”. The success of the scheme has led to other Council areas examining the possibility of rolling it out on a wider basis. The second presentation, given by Linda Williams, outlined the success of a series of SGF Healthy Living Big Breakfasts initiative, carried out with local primary schools to allow young pupils to learn about the importance of a healthy breakfast and sample a range of healthier options. These two presentations did a great job of reinforcing the fantastic, proactive role that local retailers play in the heart of their communities, providing far more than just a venue to sell products to customers. The CPG has plans for many more initiatives of this kind as it strives to influence the influencers, the MSPs that ultimately end up making important decisions that can have big impacts on the local retailing sector in Scotland. It’s vital that our politicians truly understand our trade if we expect them to make informed, sensible decisions on our behalf. That requires input from the entire industry – and all retailers, wholesalers and suppliers are invited to attend the next CPG meeting which takes place at Holyrood at 6pm on 23 May 2017. FEBRUARY 2017 | SLR


31/01/2017 10:17:32

Inside Business

Future of Convenience

2017: TRENDS FOR THE FUTURE OF CONVENIENCE HIM!’s Future of Convenience seminar was held last month to examine the key trends likely to influence the local retailing sector over the next 12 months. Simon Walton was there.


lmost a third of all convenience food purchases are consumed immediately. That was the headline that brought the audience to attention at the him! Future of Convenience seminar on 12 January at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. It was Ed Sibley, Client Services Director



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at the research firm, who took the stage first to reveal the not unsurprising fact that the trend for food to go won’t go away. “Most people think food to go when I mention fast consumption, but it’s more than that,” he said. “Some 29% of all convenience food purchases are consumed immediately.” His presentation was a fast-paced trip around

store trends, covering best practice and new ideas from around the world, including his experiences in mainland Europe and Asia Sibley emphasised the importance of being able to deliver over the counter to consumers in a hurry, particularly as more and more competitors are focusing on delivering an increasingly wide range of products to the doors of time-poor consumers who struggle to find time for basic shopping missions. Delivery hasn’t taken off in convenience yet but Sibley suggested retailers can compensate for this by finding ways to deliver fast instore. Starbucks-style pre-ordered collection is a possibility for example, or perhaps using a third party to deliver orders.

CONNECTED WORLD Digital connectivity was a topic Sibley raised as being of critical importance, highlighting what shoppers can do in one swipe, and how megatrend might be exploited by retailers. “We’re all part of the one-swipe generation,” he said, and demonstrated an innovation spotted in the Netherlands where an interactive planogram mounted in a bus shelter allowed shoppers to select and place their orders as part of their daily commute. In Korea, he said, this technology even allows for delivery while consumers make their homeward journey. However, implementing technology for the sake of it is not the answer for retailers, he

31/01/2017 13:57:15

Future of Convenience

Inside Business

“Health’ is a subject which is ever evolving. What we consider to be a healthy lifestyle now, will not be the same in a decade’s time.” LOUISE MCWHIRTER, HEAD OF INSIGHT

“29% of all convenience food purchases are consumed immediately.” ED SIBLEY, CLIENT SERVICES DIRECTOR

observed. Technology must bring tangible benefits for customers. It can also be an expensive undertaking, as Sibley pointed out. “Use technology with a purpose, but don’t do it alone,” said Sibley, adding that working with the support of brands is better than starting out on your own.

TIME PRESSURES In a society that’s spending more time for commuting, and less time shopping, noted Sibley, the click and collect model is only set to grow. He said that only 3% of urban commuters do their shopping online on their commute. Significantly, he noted that speed is even more of the essence, with seven in 10 shoppers globally saying a long queue would make them abandon a purchase within a convenience store, backing up the finding that three quarters of convenience store shoppers in the UK want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Shopping habits may be changing significantly but. Despite the relentless reinventing of the sector, staple purchases will not fall from favour, said guest speaker Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, Head of Category at Muller. He dairy-focused presentation highlighted that only around one in 100 households don’t buy milk, making this possibly the most saturated category of all.

HIM Review.indd 33

Oliver-Mooney however noted that the change in shopping habits continues to affect the outlets where shoppers are going for their staple purchases. A majority of Britain’s fast growing population shop across four channels every month, she noted – most often in convenience (11 times a month) supermarkets (eight) specialists (four) and online (twice). Relating that to her topic, she said that while shopper interest in milk was generally static, it was up to the sector to deliver more versatile products. Flavoured dairy drinks could be a growth area, driving upselling. “Dairy is a huge sector driver,” she said. “Convenience is an area we can’t afford to get wrong.”

ETHICAL SHOPPING Jill Livesey, him! Managing Director, considered the growing importance of ‘ethical’ shopping and the role it plays as part of a the wider daily shopping routine. Livesey argued that global awareness of issues like global warming, food waste and fair trade is driving more and more local purchasing decisions. Retailers that ignore the big picture, may well find their margins squeezed in future. “We can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone,” said Livesey, noting that altruism and generosity can have a disproportionately beneficial effect on business – a point not lost on the communitygrounded and internet-connected retailers in the Scottish market.

It’s not just what they had for their dinner last night that millennials are sharing on social media, the views of their local retailers are trending too. If current conversations in social media are any measure, then healthy issues are becoming even more of a lifestyle choice. Two thirds of people believe they are personally responsible for healthier eating and living trends, according to figures presented by Louise McWhirter, head of insights of him! She said however that taking these concepts into the marketplace is another matter. She said: “It’s about the layout and the feel of the store to begin with. It’s creating a personality for the store. “Health is a subject which is ever evolving. How we viewed health and what it meant to us ten years ago, is not what it means now. Similarly, what we consider to be a healthy lifestyle now, will not be the same in a decade’s time. “With this, mental wellness will become just as big a part of the conversation around health, as physical wellness is at the moment. Suppliers and retailers need to consider how expectations around health and wellness are evolving for future NPD and branding strategies.” These are points that will not be lost on Scottish retailers in the coming year and beyond – and it will be interesting to see how the industry develops in that time.



31/01/2017 13:57:16





THEY ARE THE LAW! As has become a tradition, we like to freshen up the judging panel for the SLR Rewards every year – and the SLR Rewards 2017 panel will be no exception. We are delighted to welcome a couple of exceptional retailers onto the panel this year to join an experienced, knowledgeable team.

PAUL CHEEMA This Coventry-based retailer and property developer joins the judging panel for the first time in 2017. Paul has a mantelpiece groaning under the weight of trophies and accolades earned across the retail industry. In addition to his two longestablished businesses, Paul has also been a board member at ACS for nearly six years. However, the down-to-earth and energetic entrepreneur has not only found time to provide an expert addition to the SLR Rewards panel, but he’s also a willing volunteer business counsellor, eager to share his experience.

VAL KIRILLOVS As a new business and client director for him!, Val’s main role is promotion and development. He also looks after a portfolio of existing FMCG and symbol group clients. Val has been with him! for the past three years and one of the most exciting things he has been involved in is their retail panel. As part of the panel Val had the opportunity to get involved in convenience store visits across the country. Val joined him! from researchers Kantar Worldpanel.

SIMON WALTON The fresh face of retail journalism, Simon is the Editor at Scottish Local Retailer. Bringing a new perspective to the table, this is Simon’s debut on the panel. Not that he’s without experience. Presiding over a highly-successful awards ceremony in North West England, he proved to be the personification of inscrutability and fairness. He’s also judged events elsewhere and is known for a methodical approach. He may well make sure all the boxes are ticked, but Simon is adept at spotting the stories between the lines too.

KAREN PEATTIE Karen Peattie is a highly respected journalist, editor and PR consultant with 37 years’ experience spanning weekly and national newspapers, trade publications, consumer magazines and online media. Specialising predominately in the retail, wholesale, and food & drink sectors, she is a recognised industry expert and commentator. Karen frequently serves as a judge at events in the sector. Her unique insight of the industry is bolstered by her understanding of the wholesale sector through her work with the Scottish Wholesale Association, SGF and, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.



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CHRIS NOICE Chris is Head of Communications and Research at the Association of Convenience Stores. He joined ACS in October 2009 having graduated from York University with a degree in English and Linguistics. In his post, he’s responsible for all ACS external and internal communications, media relations and a growing research portfolio, which includes the industry leading Local Shop Report. Chris also represents ACS in the media on radio and television. Chris completed the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Diploma in 2013.

DENNIS WILLIAMS Since last October, Edinburgh Premier retailer Dennis has taken on the office of President at the Scottish Grocers Federation – and has consequently felt that is is only right that he rule himself out of entering this year’s SLR Rewards for the very first time. That’s the judging panel’s gain however as Dennis will put his 30 years of retail experience to good use in helping choose the shortlists for this years Rewards. An award-winning retailer himself, he’s no stranger to best practice.

ANTONY BEGLEY Chairman of the judging panel is SLR Publisher and 55 North Managing Director Antony Begley. With three years under his belt now helping to run SLR’s very own Woodlands Local store in Falkirk, Antony is better placed than ever to understand the challenges of running a local retailing business in the ultra-competitive modern age. Antony is a graduate of Strathclyde University with an honours degree in Marketing and French and is a former PPA Scottish Business & Professional Editor of the Year. He also admits to being a Hamilton Accies fan, if pushed.

31/01/2017 10:26:47





JUDGING The judging process follows an established format, as the expert panel meets in secret to examine every entry and build a shortlist for each category. Find out who’s made it past this big test when the shortlists are announced online at If you are shortlisted, you’ll be contacted directly as well. All the shortlisted entrants are visited, unannounced, by the judges. It could be at any time. Once all the visits have been completed, the judges, all sworn to secrecy, make their final choices, just before the big event. All the winners are announced on 11 May, at the SLR Rewards gala dinner in Glasgow’s luxurious Grand Central Hotel. It’s a glamourous night of celebration and congratulation not to be missed. To book tickets, email


SLR Rewards 2017.indd 35


31/01/2017 10:26:52



Among a raft of prizes he picked at the SLR Rewards, Harris Aslam claimed the E-Cigarettes Retailer of the Year category and picked up a £500 Expedia voucher from sponsors blu into the bargain to put towards to a nice, relaxing holiday.


he e-cigarettes category is still, in many senses, an immature, evolving category. It can be a difficult one for retailers to get to grips with, which is why Harris Aslam’s outstanding gantry in this Nisa Greens store in Markinch made such an impression on the judging panel. Category sponsors blu were extremely positive about the store’s commitment to giving plenty of space over to the category in a very prominent position. Having worked 36


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hard themselves over the last few years to bring a product portfolio to market that helps retailers embrace the category, blu had no qualms about handing over a fantastic £500 worth of Expedia vouchers to Harris to put towards a well deserved break for him or one of his team. As the judges noted, blu was among the comprehensive selection of brands that the store had on display. Pricing was sensible and staff were knowledgeable. “We know that e-cigarettes is a growing

category so we’ve worked hard at it over the last year or so to ensure we are giving our customers what they want,” said Harris. “It can be quite a confusing category because of all of the equipment and products and even the jargon that surrounds it - but it’s vital that retailers don’t let that put them off because there no question that the category is here to stay. “Big brands like blu have done a fantastic job of growing the category and helping develop a new revenue stream for retailers.”

31/01/2017 15:26:15


BRAND I NEW OUTLOOK It takes something special to impress the SLR Rewards judges in the highly competitive Best New Store of the Year category, sponsored by P&G - but Euro Garages Spar Lomondgate ticked every box, and picked up a Michel-starred dinner for their trouble.

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mran Ali has garnered a forest of coverage for his Euro Garages Spar Lomondgate, and well he might. As part of a showpiece development in Dumbarton, Imran has made sure his Spar store lives up to the high profile. When P&G chose to sponsor this category, they knew that the competition would be fierce. That suited the sponsors just fine, as their home turf is stiff competition, where it takes something exceptional to catch the eye. Euro Garage Spar Lomondgate certainly fulfils that criterion. As the company’s first project in Scotland, there was a desire to make a statement, given the prominent location, and the selection of retail outlets on site. It had to be top notch and, when Imran became involved, he knew he’d have to make his Spar store first class in every aspect. As the judges found out, that’s something the retailer achieved with flying colours. What that means for Imran is something more than the opportunity to proudly display the SLR Rewards trophy to his round-the-clock customer base. Given the importance of the tourist trade at the location, this is something of an ambassador site for Scotland. It’s entirely fitting, therefore, that Imran and his guest are poised to visit another high profile Scottish business as the main part of the sponsor’s package. It’s a dining experience at the table of Michelin-starred Martin Wishart, complete with overnight accommodation in a posh hotel to complete the evening. Whatever menu choices Imran makes, P&G wishes him bon appetit! FEBRUARY 2017 | SLR


31/01/2017 15:26:17



Blantyre Premier retailer Mo Razzaq was the worthy winner of last year’s Responsible Retailer of the Year category at the SLR Rewards – and he picked up a valuable certified licensed training day from sponsors TLT to further bolster his responsible retailing credentials.


very category victory at the SLR Rewards brings its own sense of achievement, yet some are just easier to share than others. By its nature, the Responsible Retailer award attracts the most conscientious of entrants, and there are few in the Scottish retail industry who would call the winner Mo Razzaq anything other than a conscientious retailer. That certainly brought Mo to the attention of category sponsors TLT Solicitors, which brings its specialist knowledge of the licensed 38


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trade to a monthly advice column in this magazine. The legal firm also provided a valuable training package as its Reward for the winner. Under the watchful eye of company partner and Head of Licensing Stephen McGowan, Mowill pick take part in a fully certified training day, helping him to take his knowledge even further, and helping Mo take that informed and responsible approach to licensing law even further into the community. This category, and the Reward that goes with

it, emphasises the professional development that the SLR Rewards bring to the table. The Rewards really do benefit more than the individual winners. It’s down to Mo Razzaq’s lifelong commitment to playing a positive, responsible role at the heart of the community he serves that makes him a very worthy winner of this category. As the judging panel agreed, he was an excellent candidate for this Reward – and an excellent retailer to boot.

31/01/2017 15:26:21



With the importance of Fresh and Chilled growing fast, Musselbrugh Nisa retailer Colin Smith was in the driving seat -– and his Reward will see him back in a driving seat of a different kind as he gets behind the wheel of a rally car.

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resh and Chilled Retailer of the Year category sponsors Direct Shelving Services have a reputation for speedy, precise work around the store. That’s why they picked up on a Rewards prize that calls for both precision and speed too: an adrenaline-fuelled rally experience that’ll leave winner Colin Smith grinning from ear to ear, and maybe a little hair-raised as well. As well as driving a full-blown rally car under instruction, this SLR Rewards prize also has the winner in the passenger seat for a full race-speed trip around a rallycross course with a professional rally driver at the controls. The Nisa Local retailer, though, is a man who knows a thing or two about precision. As the

manager at Pinkie Farm Convenience Store in Musselburgh, Colin’s well executed display and enlightened attitude to this burgeoning category impressed the judges. They were behind him, all the way to the finishing line and the big night at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel. The driving force behind Direct Shelving Services, Graham Mason, had the pleasure of presenting Colin with his trophy and Rewards prize. However, just like the rally driver, Colin is backed by a dedicated crew. They’ve helped make what was an outstanding store when it was opened, even better. With that huge focus on fresh and chilled, they’re a credit to the category, to the sponsors, and to everyone on team Nisa Local Pinkie Farm. FEBRUARY 2017 | SLR


31/01/2017 15:26:24

Inside Business

Interview | Pete Cheema, Chief Executive, SGF

SGF MOMENTUM CONTINUES TO BUILD Building up the team will allow the Scottish Grocers Federation more latitude to work hand-in-hand with retailers accross Scotland, and provide an even stronger voice for the industry. In conversation, Pete Cheema, chief executive, has been putting his own voice to good use, explaining his vision for the Federation’s future to Antony Begley.


hen he looks back on 2016, there’s little doubt that Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) Chief Executive Pete Cheema can take some satisfaction from what the Federation achieved in a hectic but largely very productive 12-month period. By most objective standards, it’s clear that SGF has made significant progress on most fronts. Even the most sceptical observer would have to admit that the Federation is in a better place today than it has been in many a long year. That’s not to say the job is done – far from it – and Cheema is the first to accept that, but the work that he, John Lee, Pauline SGF DIARY DATES 2017 Mullen and the 15 February SGF/SBRC Retail Crime Seminar small team at SGF The Police Scotland College, Tulliallan Castle, have done over the Kincardine last 18 months has 28 February Gold Members’ Club Meeting & Dinner put the Federation Edinburgh on a sound financial 27 April SGF Mini Summit footing, establishing McDonald Inchyra Hotel, Falkirk a platform upon 9 May Gold Members’ Club Meeting which a regenerated Venue tbc Federation can be 23 May Cross Party Group Meeting confidently built. Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh Some feathers 8 June SGF Event have been ruffled RBS Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh along the way, but 31 August SGF Annual Golf Day many in the industry Venue tbc would support the 12 September Cross Party Group Meeting notion that some Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh tough decisions 14 September SGF Study Tour had to be made if Venue tbc SGF was to be re2–3 November SGF Conference 2017 moulded into an RBS Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh organisation capable 21 November Gold Members’ Club Meeting of truly fulfilling its Venue tbc duties on behalf of 28 November Cross Party Group Meeting its members. Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh Brought on board by immediate past 40


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SGF president Abdul Majid, Cheema has brought a drive and energy to the role that has seen a remarkable transformation of the Federation’s fortunes in a short period of time. “I think most people would accept that 2016 was the best year the Federation has had in a very, very long time,” reflects Cheema. “We still have a long way to go – I’m fully aware of that – but I think that last 12 months has gone a long way to ensuring that SGF remains relevant in the modern convenience retailing environment.”

CENTENARY YEAR Cheema is clearly also very conscious of the symbolic importance of building a head of steam as the organisation approaches its historic centenary year in 2018. “We’ve built a solid foundation over the last 18 months and we need to build on that this year to make sure that SGF is just as relevant and important to the wider industry as it was 100 years ago. We want to do that legacy proud.” With networking and practical advice near the top of the priority list for SGF, the annual calendar of SGF events continues to grow and strengthen, with all events free to attend for retailers, including the SGF Annual Conference – an important fact that often gets overlooked. This year’s calendar is packed with seminars, summits and conferences addressing areas of vital importance to the Scottish local retailing community like crime, regulations and the role of technology in modern convenience. “We have tried extremely hard to build a programme of events that gives retailers, wholesalers, suppliers and influencers more and more opportunities to get together, keep up to date and build relationships that will ultimately benefit everyone in our industry,” says Cheema. “But we’re not trying to have events for the

31/01/2017 10:02:45

Pete Cheema, Chief Executive, SGF | Interview

sake of it,” he adds. “We’re creating events and networking opportunities that have solid outputs. The forthcoming crime seminar at the Police Scotland College at Tulliallan Castle on 15 February is a great example. We all know retail crime is a major issue so we’ve worked with the Scottish Business Resilience Centre to produce an updated Retail Crime Report for our industry. “This Report provides a wealth of facts, figures and detail about the nature and scale of retail crime. Professionally produced and researched documents like this and the Scottish Local Shop Report that we produced last year are invaluable in helping us demonstrate to politicians and influencers that these issues are things that need addressed at the highest levels.”

LOBBYING FOCUS Establishing and strengthening relationships with those in power is another area where SGF has made huge strides over the last 18 months, thanks in no small part to John Lee, Cheema’s right hand man and SGF’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs. One of the most major lobbying coups of the last year, and one of Lee’s most noteworthy triumphs, was the establishment of the CrossParty Group (CPG) on Independent Retailing. Chaired by Gordon MacDonald MSP, the CPG

provides the Scottish local retailing industry with a unique and enormously valuable platform for direct engagement with decisionmakers and influencers from all political parties in Holyrood, as well as improved indirect access to MPs in Westminster. Cheema is unsurprisingly ebullient on the establishment of the CPG, but warns that the ultimate success of the Group depends on the active participation of retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. “The CPG is already going from strength to strength,” he says. “We’ve had a few very positive and successful meetings attended by around 15 MSPs from all major parties and we’ve had excellent support from the industry with packed rooms et every meeting. It’s up to us all now to ensure that we make the best possible use of this invaluable access to politicians to ensure that those who make the decisions understand the value, the scale and the importance of the Scottish local retailing industry to the wider Scottish economy, particularly when they are involved in decision-making that affects the industry.” More good news comes in the form of the appointment a new assistant to John Lee who will help develop SGF’s lobbying capabilities. The new start was due to join the Federation as SLR went to press but it’s certainly worthy of note that this is the second new appointment

Inside Business

in quick succession, following the hiring of Irati Ugarte to provide an extra pair of hands on admin, communications and events work. “The Federation is growing for the first time in over 40 years,” says Cheema. “Bringing in extra staff will help the Federation grow even quicker and deliver even more for its members in the future. The team here has done so well over the last 18 months but it’s been obvious to us all that we needed a bigger team so I’m delighted we’re able to deliver that.” Cheema also indicates that he intends to bring more local retailers on board at SGF in some capacity to help inform strategy for the future. While he is unable to name names quite yet, discussions are already underway with a number of top notch retailers in Scotland, which seems an eminently sensible move.

COMMUNICATION UPGRADE The final pillar of the new SGF strategy revolves around improved communications between SGF and its various stakeholders and evidence of progress on that front is abundant. The new SGF mobile app is proving a popular tool and allows the Federation to keep its audience updated on everything that it does in a user-friendly, real-time format. Similarly, the Federation website has been upgraded while the quarterly Community Shop newsletter, distributed with SLR, now reaches a wider audience than ever before. A regular e-shot programme sees a wide range of data and news circulated to retailers, wholesalers, suppliers and influencers while software and hardware improvements back at Federation House mean the SGF team is better equipped than ever to manage its social media and wider communications strategies. “It’s fair to say we’re in decent shape these days,” concludes Cheema. “The foundation we have built is a solid one and we have every reason to believe that 2017 can be even more successful for SGF. I firmly believe that our industry needs a strong SGF and we are fully committed to delivering it.”

“It’s up to us all to ensure we make the best possible use of the CPG to ensure those who make the decisions understand the value, scale and importance of the industry.” FEBRUARY 2017 | SLR

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31/01/2017 10:02:46

Inside Business

Woodlands Local | Monthly Overview


The fun never stops at Woodlands Local as we search for extra sales and extra tools to improve our business, with a new EPoS system the latest development.





ith Christmas now a fast-fading memory and Easter just around the corner, it’s another busy period at Woodlands Local as we prepare for what we hope will be a productive and constructive year. The Christmas sales period was solid if unspectactular at best, despite the huge amount of effort we put into our Christmas Crackers campaign, though we did add a new raft of Woodlands Rewards Club members, so the activity wasn’t entirely futile. It seems increasingly clear that making money from traditional Christmas lines is a real challenge these days, with the supermarkets and discounters producing deals on advent calendars, selection boxes, alcohol, party food and so on that we can’t even begin to compete with on a price basis.

NEW EPOS The most significant change taking place at the moment is a switch of EPoS system, which was happening just as SLR went to press. We are moving to RDP’s ShopMate system as part of a drive to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of time we spend on basic practices like signing-in stock, managing our inventory, ordering and promotions management. Our previous RS system was – and remains – a great EPoS system, but because of our unusual position in the market, receiving deliveries from multiple wholesalers and thus having to cope with multiple wholesaler price files, the system simply wasn’t coping. We were manually carrying out many tasks that could easily be automated and were losing literally dozens of hours a week to manually inputting


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price file updates, promotional campaigns and new product data. The ShopMate system is also more efficient for our purposes when it comes to operating our Rewards Club, principally because it removes the need for buttons on the till which staff were required to press in order to action discounts and capture valuable data. The new system automatically applies all relevant discounts and ensures that our customers can’t gain access to Rewards Club deals without having their key fob scanned. There remain one or two teething problems of course, particularly around getting information from our EPoS system into our vital Darius for Retail ‘brain’, the software that runs the Rewards Club – but we’re working on those right now and hope to have a solution in place over the next few weeks. The ShopMate system also requires us to issue all existing members with a new key fob, which isn’t ideal, but we’re planning to use this to our advantage. When customers come in to get their new card we will seek to verify their details and potentially add new data – like phone numbers for those we don’t have on file and missing date of birth info.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT 2017 will also see us renew our focus on the food to go element of the store. We’ve always known that food to go is one of the biggest footfall (and margin) drivers at the store and have made many improvements to the food to go section. The latest plan however is to focus more on the food itself by looking to bring in an expanded range of products, particularly higher end, home-made and healthier lines.

The new Epos system in the process of being installed.

We know our customers like the food we provide, so we’re going to work harder on giving them more options and on encouraging them trade up and to pick another impulse item while they’re at it. We have bought a new range of high end signage kit too which will allow us to create a far more impressive and eyecatching menu board as well as a range of professionally-presented regular offers, meal deals and promotions.

E IS FOR EXTRA PROFIT E-cigarettes will be another key focus over the next couple of months as we attempt to improve our range and pricing, and try to drive more penetration through existing shoppers and – hopefully – new ones. We are talking to our tobacco gantry supplier JTI to scope out the options for an improved gantry with a better vaping display and we’re also looking at some more radical options to allow us to broaden our range into a much wider selection of liquids and, possibly, a range of higher end tanks and accessories.

31/01/2017 10:21:48

Woodlands Picks | Woodlands Local

Inside Business


SLR’s own store trials the latest products at the moment to give local retailers an indication of how the biggest product launches can be marketed in store. Here’s Woodlands pick of the best products currently on shelf.

What? Moma Porridge Pots Why? The oats brand is extending its popular breakfast range with the launch of its new Apple & Cinnamon Porridge Pot, which is gluten-free, dairy-free and Vegan Society approved. The newest addition is quick and easy to prepare and packaged as a single serving, making it the perfect on-the-go breakfast option. Marketing support: The warm red packaging of the Apple & Cinnamon Porridge Pot provides optimum stand-out on shelf, with a contrasting touch of green to highlight the apple flavour. RRP: Pots £1.30, sachets 75p, boxes of five sachets £2.99 Woodlands thought: Well-presented product that covers a number of ‘free from’ angles. We have a large food to go trade in store, so anything that adds extra variety is always good news to us.

What? Maryland Cookie Bites Why? Maryland is the nation’s number one cookie brand and has arrived in the fast-growing sharing sector with the launch of its Cookie bites in Choc Chip and Choc Chip Caramel varieties. Marketing support: The launch is supported by digital activity across social media, dedicated POS and sampling activity. RRP: £1.49 Woodlands thought: Maryland Cookies are a great seller in store and with this addition to the range we hope to see extra sales from our lunch trade customers and for those looking for a treat to go with their tea or coffee.

What? Mr Kipling Easter Cakes Why? With occasion cakes being worth £138m, Mr Kipling has added a fresh touch to its range with Orange & Lemon Slices and Lemon Bakewells added to its Easter 2017 line-up. Marketing support: Bright bold packaging makes the new varieties unmissable on shelf. RRP: £1.00 Woodlands thought: With Christmas gone, the focus is now mainly on Easter as another great chance to ramp up basket spend in store. Mr Kipling is always popular and customers will eat this up.

What? Whiskas Kitty Casseroles Why? Whiskas Casseroles is a stew for cats. It is complete and balanced, with natural-looking, meaty chunks providing a new texture sensation for the nation’s felines. Marketing support: The launch is supported by a £10m media spend, which includes a brand-new TV advert, set to air this month, as well as YouTube advertising and social media activity. Whiskas will also be launching a huge sampling campaign, in addition to in-store activity and POS. RRP: 12 pack £4.50, £3.75 PMPs Woodlands thought: The latest in NPD for cats from the superbrand Whiskas should be a winner with pet owners who are looking to vary the diet of their pets. Pet treats and meals continue to grow YOY and this new product should help keep that trend going.

What? Skittles and Starburst Why? Wrigley is creating excitement in the confectionery aisles with the launch of limited edition Skittles Fruits and Sours and Starburst Very Berry, available in singles, hanging bags and sharing pouches. Marketing support: Skittles will air its ‘Discover the Rainbow, Taste the Rainbow’ ad on TV for 26 weeks throughout the year. Starburst comes with a range of POS material. RRP: Skittles – singles 49p, hanging bag £1, bag £1.30; Starburst – singles 49p, hanging bag £1, bag £1.28 Woodlands thought: These latest additions from Wrigley will help inject some interest in the sugared confectionery section of the store. Bright and colourful packaging plus a variety of pack sizes make these an excellent choice. Skittles and Starburst are always great sellers in store so make they get plenty of room on shelf to work their magic.

What? Coco Pops Granola Why? Kellogg’s has announced the launch of Coco Pops Granola, made from clusters of puffed rice and wholegrain oats with wheat cereal shapes. The company said the new product contains the lowest sugar level of any Kellogg’s Coco Pops product, with no artificial colours or preservatives. Marketing support: Kellogg’s is backing the launch with a £2.5m marketing spend, across TV, print and digital advertising, and a digital partnership with parenting blog, Mummypages. RRP: £2.99 Woodlands thought: Further development of the breakfast category sees Iconic brand Coco Pops offer shoppers something a little different. Popular with both adults and kids, for breakfast or snacking, a good range in cereals is always important.

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31/01/2017 10:21:51


Product News & Media Watch

Heinz Tomato Ketchup 50% less Kraft Heinz Heinz Tomato Ketchup 50% Less Sugar & Salt is the next step on from the brand’s 50% Less Sugar and 25% Less Salt variant. This latest recipe is said to still offer “the 100% Heinz taste”. Kraft Heinz is backing the launch with TV support, digital activation, PR and dedicated POS material. The new ketchup has an RRP of £1.99 for a 435g bottle and £2.59 for a 665g bottle.

Kinder Surprise Pink and Blue Ferrero

Maryland goes miniature Burton’s Biscuit Company is taking its £45m Maryland brand into the fast-growing sharing sector, with the launch of Maryland Cookie Bites. Rolling out from mid-February, two new SKUs – Choc Chip and Choc Chip Caramel – will be available in a 120g pouch format at an RRP of £1.49, featuring bite-size chocolate chip cookies coated in milk chocolate. The launch is supported by digital activity

Kinder has unveiled its latest range of Kinder Surprise Pink and Blue eggs, containing Barbie and Justice League toys. Rolling out this month, the eggs will be available until mid-April and aim to capitalise on the popularity of Barbie and the animated characters in Justice League. The eggs carry an RRP of 86p. The launch is supported by a £1.3m TV advertising campaign.

Walkers Max new flavours Pepsico Walkers Max is launching two new flavours into the impulse channel: Max Salt & Malt Vinegar, a new addition to the core range, and limited edition Max BBQ Pulled Pork. The new flavours are available now with an RRP of 80p (50g).



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Ambrosia on-pack promo Premier Foods Custard brand Ambrosia is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a yearlong on-pack promotion and new packaging, giving away a total of 1,200 prizes including festival and cinema tickets. The promotion is supported by the launch of a new consumer facing website, with a heavyweight PR and social media campaign beginning in April.

across the brand’s social media feeds, dedicated POS and sampling activity. “Biscuits shoppers are highly impulsive and are increasingly looking for an indulgent evening treat that can be shared with family or friends at home,” said David Costello, head of category and shopper management at Burton’s. “With the launch of Maryland Cookie Bites, we’re meeting the growth in consumer demand for treatier biscuits that can be enjoyed as part of a night in. We’ve all heard of Big Night In, but Not Going Out occasions – when everyone is at home together and looking for something a little more indulgent or treaty – is a far bigger occasion and one that is in major growth. With share packs representing 88% of Not Going Out sales, we’re sure Maryland Cookie Bites will help to drive the growth of in-home biscuit consumption.”

Glacéau Smart Water Sparkling Coca-Cola Company Coca-Cola European Partners has released a new, lightly sparkling variant of its glacéau smartwater to help retailers further tap into the growth of the bottled water sector. The new product is available in a 600ml (RRP 60p) and a 6x600ml multipack to (RRP £2.39).

Mr Kipling Easter Premier Foods With occasion cakes being worth £138m and growing at 5.2% (IRI), Mr Kipling will be adding a fresh touch to its range as Premier Foods has introduced new Mr Kipling Orange and Lemon slices and Mr Kipling Lemon Bakewells to its Easter 2017 line-up. The two new variants carry an RRP of £1.

31/01/2017 10:30:28

Product News & Media Watch Skittles Fruits and Sours Wrigley

Tassimo Costa Pods Jacobs Douwe Egberts

Wrigley has combined two of the best-loved flavours, Skittles Fruits and Skittles Crazy Sours, to create a brand new limited edition flavour combination, Skittles Fruits and Sours. The new combination is available in singles (55g), hanging bags (125g) and sharing pouches (174g). Price marked pack versions of the 55g (49p RRP) and 125g (£1 RRP) bags are also available.

Originally launched as a limited edition in 2015, Costa Vanilla Latte coffee pods have been brought back in response to shopper demand. The relaunched flavour is now available in 8 x 310ml cup sizes (16 pods) with an RRP of £5.29 and is available from wholesalers.



Hunting season Cadbury Crème Egg has unveiled its first new creative campaign in four years titled “It’s Crème Egg Hunting Season”. The new 30 second TV ad sees a £4m investment from the brand and will span across TV, social, experiential and PR. This is part of a wider £10m investment from Cadbury across the 2017 Easter season.

#myperfectbowl Burts Quinoa Crinkles Burts Chips

Yoplait Liberté Pouches General Mills

Burts Chips is strengthening its ‘Better For You’ range with the launch of its new lighter snack: Quinoa Crinkles. Quinoa Crinkles is available to buy in a case containing 16 packets of 20g bags (RRP 69p). The launch is being supported by sampling activity and point of sale material, as well as being part of a wide-scale integrated marketing campaign that includes PR, events and social media.

Yoplait has unveiled a new pouch format for its adult fat-free yogurt brand, Liberté. The launch will be supported by a £3m marketing spend, which will see over 250,000 Liberté pouches distributed to consumers over the next six months. The new 130g pouches – which Yoplait say are a market first – come in Blueberry and Raspberry flavours.

Following a five-year marketing hiatus, Kellogg’s has ‘contemporised’ its Corn Flakes brand in a new £10m campaign. The cereal maker has launched a nine-month TV and social media marketing campaign, featuring real consumers sharing how they eat a bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, be it with milk, fruit or even peanut butter.

Find your volcano Danone water brand, Volvic, has begun a multichannel marketing campaign, ‘Find Your Volcano’. The campaign intends to inspire the British public to find their inner strength and achieve their goals in 2017. The activity, which also sees the brand renew its year-long partnership with E4, will run until March across the Volvic’s Plain and Touch of Fruit ranges.

Müllerlight Greek Style Oreo Thins Mondelez International

Cadbury Mini Roll Raspberry Premier Foods Following the introduction of its Cake on the Go range in April, Premier Foods is launching Cadbury Mini Rolls Raspberry in a handy twin pack format. The Raspberry variant, which comes in a case size of 12, is perfect for on the go and for shoppers looking to grab a treat at lunchtime. It has an RRP of 89p.

Oreo has announced the launch of Oreo Thins in two flavours: Original Vanilla and Chocolate Creme, available in 48g packs. A £3m marketing investment supports the launch, covering TV, outdoor, PR and digital activity.

A national multimedia campaign has launched for Müller Yogurt & Desserts’ reformulated Müllerlight Greek Style range. The national campaign includes a brand new TV ad, which sees a man losing control of his potter’s wheel upon discovering the yogurt is fat free and contains no added sugar, as well as digital and print advertising.

Quorn on to a winner Olympic gold medallists Kate RichardsonWalsh and Adam Peaty feature in the new TV advertising campaign for the Quorn protein brand. The campaign began on 1 January and will run until the end of February. It is supported by a media spend of £2.5m. The adverts are part of the on-going showcase of meals that can be made with Quorn.

for all the latest product news, head to

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31/01/2017 10:30:32




Easter is one of the biggest sales opportunities of the year for retailers keen to maximise the increasngly important seasonal reveneu opportunity. SLR offers a to the best insights, the best news and the best ways to make Easter a profit centre for this year. BY ÉMER O’TOOLE


aster is a key time for socialising at home and celebrating the long bank holiday with family and friends. The continuing appeal of impulse eatnow lines and novelty products have improved retail profit opportunities. Make sure you’re in there, alongside the products best suited for the convenience channel at Easter time. Consumers are demanding choice, so retailers should begin considering their ranges for Easter now, and keeping stocks of as wide a range of products as possible will help to make the most of the opportunity that the Bank Holiday presents. Small eggs are the most popular option for sharing with the family at Easter, such as Malteaster Mini Bunny Egg (RRP £1.52). Bestselling brands such as Maltesers, M&M’s and Mars are also available in the medium egg format. These also make great gifts for friends and relatives of all ages. They are available at an RRP of £3.05. If c-stores have limited space, Mars advises retailers to stock up on large and luxury options that offer a greater return. Mars has a variety of eggs in these categories across their household


of Easter egg sales come in the last three weeks before Easter.

EASTER CAKES Premier Foods, through its popular Mr Kipling brand, will be hopping into Easter with its brand new seasonal range. With occasion cakes worth £138m and growing at 5.2%, Mr Kipling will be adding a fresh touch to its range with Orange & Lemon Slices and Lemon Bakewells. Don’t foget about home baking. For the £936m home baking category, Easter is the second biggest event after Christmas and a huge opportunity for sales for retailers. Easter provides the perfect opportunity for parents or grandparents to bake with their kids to keep them occupied during the school holidays. Home bakers also enjoy baking treats as Easter gifts, as well as creating a centrepiece cake for family gatherings. More than 10% of Home Baking’s total Chocolate sales were generated through the Easter period last year, according to Dr. Oetker research. Both Milk and Extra Dark chocolate account for 31% and 42% respectively in the total Chocolate market and these variants of the Fine Cook’s Chocolate are Dr. Oetker’s recommended must stocks.



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31/01/2017 10:31:16

Golden Eggs was the No.2 small sharing bag at Easter in its 1st year!* Small sharing bags are in 11.5% growth!* £13M media investment on Galaxy® in 2017**

Stock up early from January 2017 until Easter

Galaxy® is a registerered trademark. ©Mars 2017. *Source: Nielsen Scantrack Easter 2016 vs. Countback to Easter 2015 +11.5% on a 5yr CAGR **MMS Nielsen Addynamix

W Feature


MARS’ ADVICE FOR RETAILERS THIS EASTER 1. Easter is on the radar for consumers as soon as January so retailers should ensure they are stocked up from the beginning of the year, with a particular focus on treat products like Malteaster Bunny early on in the season and Galaxy Golden Eggs. 2. Retailers should make the most of impulse sales, placing Easter products as close to the front of store as possible – shoppers are more open to impulse purchases when they first arrive in store. 3. Gifting is a major factor at Easter so retailers should ensure they stock a full range of small, medium, large and luxury eggs to cater for all ages and budgets. Retailers constrained by space should opt for large and luxury eggs, as they provide a greater ROI. 4. Both Galaxy Golden Eggs and Malteaster Bunny are supported by eye-catching POS displays and retailers should make sure they utilise these materials to create in-store theatre, especially as Easter is a busy time in-store. 5. Utilise promotions – these are often key to triggering purchase and can also encourage consumers to buy more eggs.

BOXED CHOCOLATES Boxed chocolate make a great gift for an older relative or gift for a host and research from Mars reveals they play an integral role in the first quarter as Valentine’s and Mother’s Day gifts. NPD from Mars includes a Celebrations Gift Pack, in addition to returning favourites including the Celebrations Personal Pack (RRP £1.11), Small Carton (RRP £3.31), Large Carton (RRP £4.79) and Pouch (RRP £5).

MARS MALTEASTER BUNNY RANGE RETURNS This Easter sees the return of Mars Chocolate’s Malteaster Bunny, the nation’s number two self-eat product. The product is available at an RRP of 62p whilst a pack of five is £2.39. The Malteaster Bunny is also available in sharing and multi-pack formats this year, supporting the rapidly expanding sharing segment at Easter. Malteaster MiniBunnies and Family Mix are available at an RRP of £1.29 and £3.99.

brands including Galaxy Minstrels, Galaxy Ripple, Malteaster Bunny and M&M’s. Mars’ range of large and luxury eggs and are available from an RRP of £5.29. A four-day Bank Holiday weekend means that consumers will often be stocking up and shopping for multiple products, so it’s important to stock sharing formats. For example, 1.75l PET bottles of Coca-Cola, or 330ml can multipacks of Fanta Zero and Sprite. It’s also worth keeping some of these larger packs chilled where space allows, adding convenience for consumers who want to serve their drinks shortly after purchase. Dedicated Easter shelves that showcase soft drinks alongside essential items like seasonal gifts and sharing snacks can encourage shoppers to stock up, leading to incremental growth. These displays can be located in prominent positions, such as near the entrance to the store, or adjacent to the tills, encouraging shoppers to make impulse buys. With this spring season set to last three weeks longer than in 2016, it is an excellent opportunity to generate incremental sales. Seasonal impulse products are ideal for attracting shoppers to the category early, with sales then continuing throughout the season.




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31/01/2017 10:31:19

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27/09/2016 09:28:51


Category Management | Sugar Confectionery


ead any of the newspapers on your stand in the store and you’ll know that sugar is in the firing line from the health lobby. This black and white picture makes great headlines but the reality is somewhat more nuanced with sugar confectionery continuing to play a very sensible role in a balanced diet for the vast majority of shoppers. The blunt tool of making sugar content an issue of taxation has been fought tooth and nail by an array of major manufacturers, keen to counter the hype with solid research and statistics – but come what may in terms of legislation, there will always be a place for a treat for shoppers. Ignoring that legislation is not an option, of course, but understanding the role that sugar confectionery can play as part of a wider diet is important to understanding the category and the demand it drives. Increasing tax burdens will potentially drive prices up but manufacturers in the sugar category have long been aware that trends, habits and fashions change constantly, and have always succeeded in keeping up in the past. Demand for lower sugar products has grown but the often over-looked reality is that manufacturers have already made huge strides in improving the health credentials of their products without the need for punitive legislation. It’s one of the consequences of supply and demand.

Staying ahead of game, then, remains key for retailers and manufacturers alike and dedicated retailers will actively seek out the category management insights provided by supportive manufacturers. One such manufacturer is Wrigley who have just launched a new Starburst Very Berry variant. Research commissioned for the company, carried out by Nielsen, suggests berry flavours are bang on trend and have a proven track record of driving growth in to the sugar confectionery category. As flavour is very much on trend above sweetness, Starburst Very Berry would help retailers to profit from that shift in shopper preferences. Dan Newell, Wrigley Confections Marketing Manager, noted that berry flavours continue to perform well in the UK, and represent a huge sales opportunity for retailers. “We have combined some of the most popular berry flavours to create a pack that’s bursting with real berry fruit juice.” He added that Wrigley of course consider Starburst Very Berry a must stock. NPD is always key to the sugar confectionery category and retailers shouldn’t be afraid to delete slower-selling lines to make room for the new kid on the block. The impulse nature of the category means it pays dividends to take advantage of promotional placement. Packaging is invariably designed to make the most of this market, so explore options for eye-catching displays, all over the store.


An SLR category-by-category management guide starts this month with the essentials for turning the sweet smell of sugar confectionery into the sweet smell of success.



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31/01/2017 10:19:13




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31/01/2017 10:34:17




Motorists already know it. The modern forecourt is a far cry from the so-called filling station of the past – and it’s no longer just drivers who find their way past the pumps and into the store. SLR reviews the state of forecourt retailing, and considered the trends that will shape its future. BY ÉMER O’TOOLE


n increasing focus on the retail side of things has been the overriding trend of recent years in forecourt management but while that development has opened up fresh revenue streams, it also means forecourt retailers are also exposed to the fierce competition in the sector. The market is tougher than ever before with forecourt operators having to work harder to attract and retain customers. The first challenge is simply to entice customers onto a forecourt – often with with competitively priced fuel, a bright and welcoming livery, and high quality pumps and forecourt facilities. First impressions really do count, and with several symbol groups now offering own-brand fuel offerings, the fascias look more tightly linked to the sector. Jet has a brand partnership with Spar UK and Snack on the Go – an exclusive coffee and food-togo offering with eXpresso Plus. The Snack on the Go display unit can be customised to fit the store’s available space (from a minimum of one square metre). As well as a Lavazza coffee machine, dealers can choose to add display areas for hot food, sweet treats and chilled items. Expert advice is available from Expresso Plus and Country Choice to ensure the products will appeal to each site’s customers. Display units can be branded and can be adapted at a later date if required. Jet

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says this helps its dealers to “stand out from the crowd, offer greater convenience choice and develop a loyal customer base.” Spar says its forecourts use innovations, such as wooden boxed displays for fresh produce, and shelving space for local manufacturers, alongside ranges of car care items to drive footfall. “Basic items are not forgotten in a successful forecourt operation,” says Terri Plummer from CJ Lang. “This can be the place where shoppers come to habitually, and, given that fuel is very much a price-driven product, capturing a loyal retail clientele is a must for any successful forecourt.” Before a forecourt can expand its services and range, it needs to ensure that it gets the basics right. It’s easy to overlook the fundamentals such as having clean fuel pump handles, visible rubbish bins, fully stocked hand towels and gloves – small things that can make a big difference to a consumer’s perception of the site and the retail offer, particularly if they are paying their first visit. Meeting other motoring needs too can have a very positive effect, including clean and fault-free water, air, vacuuming and car washing equipment. They help ensure the forecourt becomes a destination for these services which in itself can encourage additional sales across the site as a whole. A customer is never going to trust a retailer for FEBRUARY 2017 | SLR


31/01/2017 10:34:18


THE fuel brand of independent Scottish dealers

From Dumfries in the south to Thurso in the north, and from Kyle of Lochalsh in the west to Duns in the east, JET’s network of independent Scottish forecourts is going from strength to strength. In Scotland alone, we now supply over 1 billion litres of fuel to independent dealers, other oil companies, hypermarkets, major resellers, and commercial and marine customers.

* Source: Phillips 66 analysis based on Catalist’s latest price data.

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31/01/2017 11:05:32

More and more Scottish dealers are making JET their fuel supplier of choice and here’s why... • Security of supply: JET is Scotland’s only branded dealer supplier with its own UK refinery – offering security and flexibility • Competitive supply price: Our competitive supply price meant that JET was the lowest priced nonhypermarket fuel brand in Scotland in 2016* • An award-winning standards and service programme: Our ‘Proud to be Jet’ standards and service programme rewards dealers who deliver high standards and offer excellent customer facilities

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• Big brand alliances: Our brand partnership with SPAR UK enables JET dealers to transform their sites into convenience destinations that maximise on both fuel and food sales • Retail support: Our compelling range of retail support services and partner offers help dealers to drive forecourt footfall and customer loyalty • Flexible food-to-go solution: ‘Snack on the Go’ - our exclusive coffee and food-to-go concept with eXpresso PLUS and Country Choice - helps dealers capitalise on the growth in food-to-go sales

JET is 100% committed to the future of fuel retailing in Scotland and the continued expansion of our dealer network. We’d love to talk to you about how we could help your business thrive now and into the future.

T 01926 404 333 W E JourneywithJET @JETPetrol

• Consumer promotions: At no cost to our dealers, our innovative national and local promotions have been proven to drive up forecourt footfall and fuel volumes

31/01/2017 11:05:34 20/01/2017 17:23



their fresh food if the retailer doesn’t keep the pump island clean, or provide good value with forecourt basics. With the growing importance of fresh and food to go, forecourts can now also offer the convenience customer access to a strong range of products – be it fresh produce, protein or meal solutions supported by a wide grocery range that caters to their everyday needs. This in particular presents a real opportunity for forecourt retailers to drive overall spend and footfall, and attracts a much broader consumer profile. While the top-up shopper is increasingly being lured into forecourts, it is arguably the food to go offer that can be a real success for forecourts. Impulse buys and little & often are

two growing trends that the forecourt operator is ideally placed to capitalise on. Couple those with the demand for good quality coffee, and the forecourt becomes more of a place to linger, and therefore encourage upselling and mission buying. According to Jet research, 70% of UK forecourts now have a coffee machine in store. Time of day can influence ‘treat’ buying patterns too. CJ Lang says these are often sweet or savoury buys, between meals, bought as mood food, to make the shopper – usually drivers – feel emotionally better. The boost purchase is something of a mental pick-me-up, which could traditionally be a strong coffee or caffeine drink, which young adult shoppers tend to prefer. Visa research reveals the average commuter

FORECOURT CRIME Forecourt crime will be at the top of the agenda for the Petrol Retailers’ Association this year. Chairman Brian Madderson says he has been talking to the government about investigating hand car washes in Scotland. “The whole thrust of this is labour exploitation. It is a really serious issue that has the prime minister’s attention. For once we are pushing on open doors with the government,” he says. He also says that additional discussions will involve the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority. “We know that hand car washing can be better regulated. They need to pay their taxes and meet environmental standards, which many don’t at the moment. And they certainly need to avoid exploitation. We’re looking to do quite a big initiative on forecourt crime next year right across Scotland,” he adds.



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spends more than £10 a day on lunch, takeaway coffees and other food – that’s £2,500 a year on snacks. It’s easy to see why forecourt operators want to capitalise on the trend. Over the years, forecourts have evolved significantly. Gone are the days of the small forecourt kiosk full of cigarettes, chocolate, crisps, soft drinks and car accessories. Now we have modern forecourts incorporating 2,500 sq. ft. convenience stores with fantastic fresh food offers, full grocery offerings, food to go and a wide range of additional services. According to Jet, 35% of forecourts in the UK have an in-store bakery and 29% have a microwave for customer use. “Residential neighbourhood communitybased forecourts are now in many cases becoming the main supplier for local daily provisions,” says Terri Plummer. “Here, we see a real mix of shoppers. Some arrive by car to take full advantage of the exclusive parking. Just as many customers arrive by foot, using the forecourt as their local convenience store, more so than the transient out of town location. It’s at these that shoppers are more likely to arrive by car to fill up their vehicle with fuel, but also expect to be offered body fuel with a real Food to Go offer meeting the needs of a completely different shopper.” New technology is another area where fuel retailers can differentiate themselves from 58


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their competitors. Jet has reported decent results for its dealer network since it launched a three month trial of the popular mobile app, Waze. Waze uses adverts that draw the user’s attention to a branded location pin which highlights each Jet site’s exact location. If the user taps on the pin, more information is presented and they can ask the app to take them directly to the site. With over four million views in just three months, it’s proving to be a great way to raise brand awareness and drive forecourt footfall. There is a huge opportunity for independent forecourts in an increasingly competitive market place by using fuel as a key footfall driving element to their proposition, and to then expand their offering to ensure that it caters for the wide range of customers that could potentially use the site. To do this successfully, however, forecourts have to get the basics right first and build on the reputation that arises from that. The days of forecourts focusing solely on fuel are long gone. Whether it’s grabbing dinner for that evening, posting a parcel, paying bills, collecting an online order, or even just picking up a cup of coffee and a snack for their commute, filling up with fuel is often a secondary reason for the visit. To make their forecourts more desirable, fuel retailers have to deliver in all of these areas.

31/01/2017 10:34:20

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BREAK MORNING SALES With mission-shopping trending firmly among progressive store layouts, the breakfast mission has steadily grown in importance across the Scottish local retailing market. SLR’s breakfast guide offers an insight into what you need to know about this vital sales opportunity. BY ÉMER O’TOOLE

PANCAKES LOVE NUTELLA The Pancakes Love Nutella campaign is back in time for Pancake Day, which this year falls on 28 February. Levi Boorer, customer development director at Ferrero says: “The rise of shoppers turning their hand to homemade products is more prevalent than ever and cross-category displays can help drive basket spend by providing all the ingredients for a perfect pancake.” Retailers should display popular pancake ingredients together, such as flour, eggs and milk, alongside a range of popular toppings such as Nutella.


reakfast sales cover a wide range of categories – cereals, bread & bakery, drinks such as juice, tea and milk, and food-to-go – making it crucial to get right. Retailers will have to make key decisions to maximise this growing trend for food on the move. It is vital that the 25 top-selling cereal brands are always stocked in store. The best way to utilise space on smaller plans is by avoiding product duplication (double facings, size variants etc). For larger plans, availability and breadth of range is the next focus; top brands deserve double facings and retailers should look to stock further products that will meet different shopper missions and needs. Don’t forget about porridge. John Kerr, director of The JFK Partnership (responsible for Hamlyns sales), says: “The health benefits of porridge continue to be hailed in the media and amongst many influential food bloggers. Porridge is seen as a low-cost, high-benefit breakfast, offering the best value-for-money per serving across the range of breakfast cereal options.” Joanne Denney-Finch from IGD says: “Shoppers are beginning to adopt food-to-go as a lifestyle choice which presents a clear opportunity for these operators, and coffee specialists are responding to this by focusing more on food and improved lunchtime options.” Cereal bars are consumed for a

“Breakfast is the single biggest meal occasion for the UK population and presents a huge market opportunity.” ZOE TAPHOUSE, CATEGORY DIRECTOR AT ALLIED BAKERIES

different occasion to cereal. It is therefore recommended they sit outside of the cereal aisle, possibly at the front of store where they can be picked up on the go. With cereal bars, the majority of consumption happens at snack times, rather than at breakfast. belVita Breakfast is available in convenient single packs, in several variants: belVita Strawberry Duo Crunch, belVita Honey & Nut, belVita Crunchy Hazelnut and new Soft Bakes Choc Chip, which is available in single portion PMP and non-PMP formats. Bakery is worth £3bn, according to Nielsen, and is a key driver for footfall and growth. It is one of the few categories that truly drives traffic into store. Research by him! suggests it is the number one reason why people visit convenience stores. As one of the few categories that can make a difference to grocery performance, retailers should carefully consider how they present this popular category. Bread is the biggest seller in the category, and 68% of all toast occasions are eaten at breakfast, according to Kantar research. While providing fuel for the day, toast has the added benefit of being quick and easy to prepare and also to clear up. As consumer shopping habits are changing to the ‘little and often’ model, convenience stores are best placed to maximise breakfast sales opportunities by stocking and showcasing a wide range of breakfast options.


of breakfast occasions are eaten at home.



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It’s not often that you get to use the words ‘David James’ and ‘big chopper’ in the same sentence so UTC couldn’t resist the urge to share with his readers an otherwise dull tale of how the former England keeper ended up in a helicopter delivering bottles of Budweiser to fans of rubbish football teams across England. Long story mercifully short, Budweiser (the official beer of the FA Cup) decided it would be a wheeze to stick David ‘Calamity’ James in a chopper and get him to “reward the biggest achievements of the Third Round” of the cup by airdropping beer for fans of teams who had “against all odds beat their tough competitors or put up the biggest fight.” We could go on with some inspiring and deeply insincere quotes about the stunt from James. But we won’t.


As we all know, UTC is never more fascinated than when confronted with a bit of spurious and often pointless research. So a study examining which shoppers decided to vote Remain and which shoppers voted for Brexit brightened up an otherwise dull Tuesday afternoon for the auld yin. Apparently, according to a press release based on an online study by coupon providers Valassis, over half of Co-op shoppers (56%) voted to remain, compared with just 42% of Aldi shoppers and 45% of Lidl shoppers. Which is odd in itself, given that the two discounters are obviously German companies. Even more odd, however, is the attempt Valassis made in the press release to then turn this tidbit of European disharmony into a story about how many shoppers really, really love using the vouchering solution they sell. But we won’t bore you with the details of that.


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BROLLY GOOD If there’s one thing UTC can’t stand about winter in Scotland, it’s getting drookit on his way to Ladbrokes when the heavens open between the time he leaves the pub after his lunchtime reviver and the time he arrives at the bookies. So you can imagine the scenes of unbridled joy in SLR Towers the other day when a colleague forwarded a press release onto the auld yin about a new umbrella drone. The limited edition DJI Phantom 4 allegedly tracks the GPS signal from your mobile phone to make sure it’s permanently just above your bonce, exactly where you need it when it’s bucketing. UTC’s enthusiasm was quickly tempered however as he realised that he doesn’t have a mobile phone with a GPS signal and he doesn’t have £1,299 – the price of said umbrella drone. The flat cap he had jettisoned into the waste paper basket was quickly retrieved and normal service was resumed forthwith.

31/01/2017 10:02:16

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04/01/2017 16:45

SLR February 2017  

SLR February 2017 edition. SLR is the ONLY magazine exclusively aimed at the locally-owned convenience sector in Scotland.

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