Page 1


The magazine exclusively for

Issue 43 Sep/Oct 2017


Don’t miss

healthy profits

Our guide to muststock medicines

Frazzled by Facebook? Our tips for social media success

Seize the


When it comes to giving your customers what they’re looking for, it pays to do your homework

Plus. . . retailer stories n industry news n latest must-stock products n store profiles

Lifestyle Retailer is published six times a year by The Bright Media Agency, The Old Bank, 2 Cross Street, Enderby, Leicestershire LE19 4NJ on behalf of Landmark Wholesale.

Welcome… … to the latest edition of your magazine. As you’ll have seen, we’ve given it a fresh new cover design and a brand new name that better reflects what we’re all about - being a Lifestyle

For Landmark

Stuart Johnson

retailer! And, while it may

For The bright media agency

have a new look, you can be sure that it’s packed with

Editor Stephenie Shaw

the same great content that you can rely on to help

Head of Design Emma Bramwell PR and Communications Executive Rosie Bambury

you run your business and boost your margins. that we can support you and when research showed that retailers are struggling with social media, we had

Contributors Jon Freeman & Matthew Horwood

to share some tips and tricks with you. Turn to page

Artworker Chris Gardner

the word about your brilliant store.

Head of Commercial Development Adam Turner Publisher David Shaw To advertisE

Please contact Adam Turner: 0116 296 0214 or adam@thebrightmedia


At Lifestyle Express, we’re always looking for ways

47 to make the most of a fantastic platform to spread This time of year means one thing for retailers: huge opportunity. Whether you’re maximising the big events such as Halloween, Diwali or the lead-up to Christmas, autumn is a time for great sales. As families settle down for the traditional Big Night In, make the most of promotions in depot and stock up on those bestselling snacks and drinks that your customers are looking for. And, as we enter the


season of sniffles and sneezes, it pays to think about

Please contact Stephenie Shaw: 0116 296 0133 or stephenie@thebright

your over-the-counter medicines. Turn to page 18 for the best range advice. Have a great autumn!

Disclaimer: All prices listed are correct at the time of going to press, but may be subject to change.

Stuart Johnson Retail Controller, Landmark Wholesale

47 get in touch, share your news If you have news, top tips or ideas for features, get in touch with Lifestyle Retailer. Just email

lifestyleretailer@ thebrightmediaagency. com issue 43 2017

lifestyle retailer 03


Contents 22

13 34

on the cover

Thanks to cover star Venu Mittapally from Lifestyle Express, Llanelli (p22)

06 N  eed to know 37  store profile

18 winter remedies


34 practical advice

The latest news, views and product insights from across the industry


Why it pays to brush up on your retail skills

13  ones to watch Our round-up of the latest must-stock products

22 store profile Behind the scenes of a brand new store

 It’s time to make sure you’re ready for the season of coughs and colds

When Shai took over a village convenience store, she had no idea she’d be providing friendship as well as fishfingers

 How to create a promotional end that packs a punch

60 next issue

47 social media easonal 53 sopportunity

 What you can look forward to in our next issue

 How social media can help your store stand out

62 the


 We provide you with the latest facts and figures about the convenience sector

Tips on how to get your store ready for winter


issue 43 2017

lifestyle retailer 05

Need to know

Are you checking ID? As a recent report reveals that 46% of retailers don’t ask for ID when customers buy age-restricted goods, are you retailing responsibly? After a report showed that nearly half of independent tobacco retailers failed to correctly challenge customers for ID, ask yourself whether your store would have passed the test.


The report, produced for Responsible Tobacco Retailing’s mystery shopper programme, showed that 46% of those visited failed to correctly challenge customers to provide ID. More than 4,000 checks were carried out on UK stores

last year, including 3,626 mystery shops and 546 compliance checks. In addition to the 46% who didn’t challenge ID, the report also revealed that 84% of stores had no age verification policy written down; 47% of stores had no warning signage clearly displayed outside the store; and critically, 79% of retailers had no documented staff training in place to ensure all staff were aware of the rules and regulations around age-restricted sales. Luckily, for Lifestyle Express retailers there is help at hand to ensure they don’t

fall foul of the law. The RESPOnsiblE Lifestyle Learning Academy, So, are you doing all you which launched earlier this can to ensure you retail as year, provides retailers with responsibly as possible? the means to not only brush Do you have age restriction up their skills when it comes posters displayed, a refusals to age-restricted sales, but register, window vinyls and also document and record all a clear challenge policy training that takes place for for staff? them and their staff. And best of all, For The Lifestyle details on Learning how to get Academy is started with completely the Lifestyle free for LearniNg Lifestyle academy… Express … turn to page 11 THE retailers. LEARNIN G ACAD EMY

Why it’s best to invest now New figures RELEASED show that despite worries about the impact of rising staff costs, more convenience store owners are investing in their businesses than ever before. The survey by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) showed that convenience stores across the UK invested £193m in their businesses between March and May, higher than the same time last year. “Despite uncertainty, convenience store owners have remained committed to making investments in their stores to reduce costs in the long term

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and provide a better service for consumers,” said James Lowman, Chief Executive, ACS. “Some convenience stores have taken on specialist services like bakery counters, post offices and even pharmacies that would otherwise not be offered to local customers, all of which require investment to be successful.” More worrying is the news that the number of retailers reporting that they are cutting staff hours has risen over the last three months, following a National Living Wage increase in April to £7.50 per hour.

Have you done your homework? From healthy snacks to stationery essentials, Back to School is a real sales driver for convenience stores. The first rule for Back to School success is to ensure you’re offering products that get big ticks from parents and children alike. Whether this is packing a lunchbox, kitting out a pencil case or offering those all-important after-school treats, it’s vital you stock the right range. School lunches are big business for time-strapped parents. Products need to be healthy and tasty, so think flavoured waters, fruit juices dried fruit snacks and fresh fruit. Whatever you do, don’t forget the sandwich essentials such as fresh rolls, pittas and wraps.

Jobs at risk as costs rise Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has raised concerns about the measures that retailers are being forced to take as a result of the National Living Wage increase, which has led to increased costs for store owners. ACS said more than 78% of convenience stores have reduced the number of staff

hours in their business, while 48% have had to reduce the number of staff they employ in store. Almost two-thirds (65%) of store owners have had to increase the number of hours they work themselves and 78% of convenience store owners believe the increase in the National Living Wage in April

2017 has made their business less profitable. An ACS survey showed 75% of independents wanted to see a freeze in the National Living Wage next year. The government’s current target is for the National Living Wage to reach 60% of median earnings (currently projected at £8.75 per hour) by 2020.

Cashless on the up Contactless ‘touch and go’ payments have increased 34% since the beginning of the year, says Barclaycard. Barclaycard’s quarterly Contactless Spending Index has shown that contactless payment is now shoppers’ preferred way to pay, with more than half (51%) of all eligible transactions up to the £30 spending limit now being made using contactless technology.

Sourcing local is no silver bullet Independent retailers who offer a great range of local products could benefit if the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit trade deal. Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, made the recommendations after KPMG released a report warning many customers could face price increases of more than four times the rate of inflation, depending on the outcome

of Brexit negotiations. “Sourcing locally isn’t a silver bullet, so it should be considered alongside other advice,” he said, adding that retailers who understand where products come from, as well as how they are transported, can make informed choices about what to stock. “Retailers should consider joining forces with other retailers and suppliers to deliver

collaborative solutions to the challenges that may arise from customs changes as well as exploring both pricing and supply chain options fully,” he added. The report showed that imported goods like ingredients for a cooked breakfast such as Danish bacon, Spanish orange juice and Italian olive oil were among the items most likely to rocket.

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Need to know

Trick or treat? 72% of parents who took part in a survey said they share in their children’s sweet treats collection, with or without their knowledge, according to the National Confectioners Association. Stock up on family favourites to tempt your customers, young and old.

In the know James Lowman, Chief Executive at Association of Convenience Stores, talks about the Deposit Return Scheme


he Scottish Government recently announced its intention to look more closely into the feasibility of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for bottles and cans, commissioning research to look at different models of DRS and their impact on retailers, consumers and the existing ways in which people recycle. While this is currently just being considered officially in Scotland, authorities in England and Wales are keeping a close eye on proceedings. Our view has been consistent that a scheme would not be effective, and would place unnecessary burdens on the convenience sector. The retailers we spoke to identified issues that you will probably relate to, for example not having space in store to take bottles and cans. They also raised issues like

health and safety and hygiene problems when storing used packaging brought back to the store by customers, and they were concerned about potential confrontations with customers over what can and can’t be accepted under a DRS scheme. That’s without getting into the challenges of installing large reverse vending machines. Perhaps more importantly, consumers didn’t see DRS as the right way to improve recycling. In general, they prefer kerbside collection at their homes and, in fact, taking some packaging out of the system of kerbside collection would make this less financially viable. This is an important debate, not just for our sector but for many other businesses and indeed for the environment. We hope the Scottish Government will think carefully and deeply about the best ways to improve recycling, and work with retailers to define the right way forward.

Convenient coffee to go Research shows we are all about the convenience when it comes to ordering coffee. Convenience stores are destinations for nearly one in five consumers who buy coffee on the go, according to new research. A survey by One Poll, in collaboration with Nestlé Professional, found that 3%

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of respondents buy coffee to go, of which 19% regularly purchase from convenience stores. Nearly one in three (30%) of coffee-to-go consumers buy from supermarkets, and 23% do so from forecourts, while one-third of 18–24 year olds use smart ordering – preordering via a smartphone or tablet – when dining or drinking.

Don’t forget… International Coffee Day 1 October

Boost your skills

Learn on the job with Struggling with the costs of training your staff or simply can’t find the time to fit it in? The Lifestyle Learning Academy is here to help


here’s never been a better time for you to brush up on your retail skills, and those of your staff. Lifestyle Express has teamed up with Bolt Learning to launch The Lifestyle Learning Academy. Bolt Learning are an expert digital learning company, run by people who know the UK convenience sector really well, so you know you’ll be in safe hands with the people who understand the industry.


Exclusively for Lifestyle Express retailers, this is the perfect opportunity to help you drive up your sales and better serve the needs of your customers. The best thing is that it’s free of charge and available on any device so it can be accessed anywhere and at any time. This means that you can fit it in to suit your lifestyle, whether in the evening or during a quiet moment in the store. Retailers can allocate and track staff training and progress using an ‘online filing cabinet’ to record which training sections have been completed and prove compliance. The Academy launched in July with four initial modules, which will increase to eight by the end of year one.

The first four modules n Age-Related Sales n Basic Health & Safety n Customer Service



n Core Range Stuart Johnson, Landmark Wholesale Retail Controller, pictured right, commented: “We know that retailers struggle to find the time to train their staff and The Lifestyle Learning Academy will tackle those issues. “The training, which we’re delighted to offer totally free of charge, will allow all of our retailers and their staff to access a range of essential training modules which will enable them to help maintain compliance and grow sales. “Not only will this save Lifestyle Express retailers time, money and the administrative headache associated with training, but also by upskilling staff they can ultimately deliver a better service to the shopper and that can only have a positive impact on their footfall and sales.”

how to sign up Self-registration

You can self-register for your training by visiting or scanning the QR code on your introductory letter or to the right, with your mobile phone (using a QR code scanner app).

Email registration

Send an email to and we will respond to you with the registration requirements.

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Ones to watch Stock up on these hot sellers to drive up sales and footfall this summer

Spice it up One of the biggest snack brands in the UK, Doritos, has made its Roulette crisps even bolder by partnering Tabasco Sauce. The revamped packs will contain the signature bold flavour and intense crunch consumers associate with Doritos with an additional twist.

NEW LAUNCH FROM Whyte & Mackay

Whyte & Mackay has launched a new single malt to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Tamnavulin distillery: the new Tamnavulin 70cl Speyside Single Malt Whisky. The release is the first new expression from the distillery in 20 years.


Ferrero is extending into the sharing bags sector with Kinder Bueno Mini, which contains 16 individually-wrapped versions of the brand’s original flavour. Convenience retailers can promote Kinder Bueno, RRP £2, in store with PoS which is available to order through the brand’s trade website.

Oats to go The nation’s favourite porridge brand, Quaker Oats, is revealing Porridge To Go Breakfast Squares and relaunching its Fruit & Oat Squeeze pouches. Perfect for those looking for breakfast on the go and made with soft and chewy 100% wholegrain oats, it provides fibre and calcium as well as the same amount of oats as a bowl of porridge. The Squares can be purchased in two formats: single-serve 55g packs (RRP 75p) and a duo pack of two 55g packs (RRP £1.39).

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Ones to watch G-r-r-reat Kellogg’s is teaming up with Disney to launch a range of cereals featuring Disney characters. Included in the range are Disney Princesses, Cars 3 and Star Wars. The cereals meet Disney’s nutritional guidelines, offering shoppers nine vitamins and cereals. The lines have an RRP of £2.79.

Nescafé goes for gold

Every retailer knows how in demand hot drinks are, especially at this time of year, and it’s essential that retailers stock the right range. Nescafé Gold Blend – the No.1 Premium brand – looks set to delight shoppers this autumn with its biggest ever relaunch. Featuring an enhanced blend with distinctly rich aroma and fuller taste, Nescafé Gold Blend is a coffee classic that customers will expect to find on convenience store shelves.


Pringle fever Cashing in on the popular street food trend, Pringles has launched four limited-edition flavours. The range contains Spicy BBQ

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Ribs, Hot Chilli Sauce, Mac & Cheese and Thai Green Curry. These spicy new flavours have an RRP of £2.99.

When it comes to pleasing our four-legged friends, UK pet owners are putty in their paws. And now shoppers can now add a touch of convenience and freshness to their wet dog food thanks to the latest product from Purina, Winalot Perfect Portions. Available in two great varieties – gravy and jelly – for £1.09, these new packs look set to get tails wagging.

Ones to watch Haig Club launch PMP

Following the hugely successful launch of Haig Club Clubman last year, October will see the launch of a Price Marked Pack version. This sweet, light and easy to drink single grain Scotch whisky will be available for ÂŁ19.99.

Deliciously strawberry Wrigley’s limited edition Starburst Strawberry is flying onto shelves around the UK following a successful launch in the US earlier this year. The Unexplainably Juicy limited edition packs will be made up solely of consumer favourite strawberry flavoured chews.

Breakfast to go

For a tasty and convenient breakfast solution that boosts protein intake, Weetabix on the Go High Protein is the perfect solution for the most important meal of the day. It combines all the energy and fibre of a Weetabix cereal with milk and 21g of protein per bottle, all in a convenient, smooth and delicious breakfast drink.

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Category focus

A remedy for that As winter is on the horizon, it’s a good time to take a look at your winter remedies category to make sure you’re well prepared for the season of coughs and colds


et’s talk colds. Nobody likes them, yet it’s a sorry fact that adults are likely to suffer from at least two a year, with children suffering even more. In fact, you probably know of someone sniffling right now! At a time when it can be frowned upon to be laid low and with the demands of everyday life meaning people have to soldier on, it’s vital they have their local convenience store to turn to without the daunting prospect of a time-consuming trip to the doctor’s. And as winter is approaching, when colds and coughs are at their peak, now is the ideal time to assess your over-thecounter (OTC) medicines range to ensure you’re covering the key products and that your range has high visibility. OTC medicines is a distress and impulse-driven category, making it such an important one for independent retailers, particularly when you consider that the

category is expected to grow by 13% by 2018 to reach sales of £711m, according to IRI data. Your longer opening hours and locality mean customers know they can rely on you when they are caught unawares by the sudden onset of a cold or wake up with a pounding head. Equally, as people pop in on their lunch or meal-for-tonight trip, they can pick up medicine if they’re feeling less

It’s important to remember that sales of painkillers should be restricted per customer and it’s not advisable to offer multibuys in this category

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Category focus

than sprightly, saving them a trip to the chemist or supermarket. When people are ill, they want to take something they know works and they trust. Typically, this means a branded product as the majority of shoppers see brand as the most important decision in the category, so make sure your customers know you have the well-known brands available. Lemsip, Halls, Olbas, Lockets and Covonia are all bestsellers in the convenience channel, so make sure they have pride of place on your shelves. And make sure that the full spectrum of winter remedies is covered, from cold and flu products and decongestants to cough syrups, medicated lozenges, painkillers and allergy tablets.

A helping hand

Boost basket spend by asking a customer buying a cold remedy if they need tissues, lip balm (to soothe sore, dry lips) or moisturiser for sore noses. For those purchasing cough syrup, suggest they get some medicated confectionery too. This is an ideal area to cross-merchandise and create a strategic display: as well as tissues, you could go one step further and promote fresh and bottled lemon juice, honey and ginger as a natural sore throat remedy or fresh or tinned chicken soup for classic comfort food. Pack size and format, such as capsules,

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New figures show a significant rise in the sale of self-medicated treatments for sniffles, coughs and colds, suggesting patients are following official advice. That amounts to a total of 164m packs of medication, a 6% increase on last year

Don’t forget… n Tissues n Painkillers nM  edicated confectionery,

including chewing gum n Lip balm

gels and patches, and sachets of pre-dosed medicine for children, are important to consider as people like to carry medicines in their bag or pocket. One area of the analgesics market that is showing considerable growth is children’s painkillers, sales having risen by 8% in the last year alone. For concerned parents, highlight your range of children’s medicines to show you’re catering for every age group. With the knowledge you can stock your OTC medicines range on the shop floor and not behind the counter, as winter looms, you can showcase your range with eye-catching signage to help make shopping even easier for your poorly customers.

n Moisturiser n Chicken soup n Lemons n Honey n Ginger n Drinks

Fact file Location:  Marine Street, Llanelli

Trading times: Mon–Sat

7.30am–9pm, Sun 8.30am–9pm

Nearest Premier, Home competition:  and Bargain

Features:  ATM, news

agency, offlicence, grocers, PayPoint, Lottery

Staff:  Two

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Store profile

‘‘these are my people. I love it. that is why i’m here 365 days a year’’ Venu Mittapally made the journey from London to Wales to open up a brand new Lifestyle Express store and hasn’t looked back since issue 43 2017

lifestyle retailer 23

Store profile

Would you like your store to be featured? Let us know. Get in touch lifestyleretailer@


dramatic career change led to one man’s discovery of the job he was born to do. Sometimes life throws you a curveball and, if you roll with it, you might just find the career move you were born to take. That seems to be the case for Llanelli’s Venu Mittapally. A Londoner by birth, Venu had a good job in the cash and carry business – but with the financial crash, and the loss of his job, it was time to make new plans.

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“I never planned on leaving London, and I didn’t know anyone in Wales but, ten years later, here I am!” Venu says, from his spick and span new Lifestyle Express store, a stone’s throw away from the golden sands of Llanelli’s popular beach. “I lost my job at the cash and carry and a friend, who’d started a shop in South Wales, asked me to come and join him. I was just about to start a job in computer software, but something made me change my mind. So my wife and I thought, why not? Let’s make a brand new start of it.”


So, at 35 and with a young family, Venu took the trip west along the M4 to Merthyr Tydfil but things didn’t exactly go to plan. The relationship with his friend broke down. But by then, Venu knew he was on to something – he knew that the retail world was for him. “I bought my first shop in Merthyr. It was tiny – it still is!” he says

Store profile

top tip Don’t stand still. The retail world changes fast. Make sure you don’t get left behind. Always think about what new services you can offer, because if you don’t, your competitor will.

of the 400-square-foot convenience store. “There’s no room to keep stock, and it’s only four metres by eight, but we managed to turn it around from taking £2.5k to £8k a week; though I knew there was a limit to how well it could do, so I started looking for a second shop in a better location.” It took a couple of years, and a few false starts, but eventually Venu set his heart on a shop in the seaside town of Llanelli, an hour’s drive south. Did he have a plan? “Not really, I knew I wanted somewhere along the A484 (a busy road that connects Swansea with mid Wales), and I knew I wanted somewhere bigger, but that was all,” he says. “The people here gave me proper accounts, and I saw that the shop used to take £13k, but that it had dropped to £10k. That didn’t worry me. If anything, it made me realise that it had potential,” says the ever-optimistic Venu.


But it was the location that swung it for him. “It’s five minutes from the beach, and it’s in a nice residential area,” he says. “And what’s more, if locals are going to the beach, they have to walk past my shop!” Venu asked around. It soon became clear that the reason the shop, previously a Spar, was struggling was simple: “It came down to cost. People just weren’t happy to pay its prices. And there’s a Premier store nearby, so it just couldn’t compete.” “When we opened, I had £27,000 worth of stock left, so we reduced all the prices immediately. I wanted to work with ➥

“I wanted to work with Lifestyle because I like the way they work, their prices are much more competitive and they helped me redesign the whole store.”

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Store profile

Lifestyle because I like the way they work, their prices are much more competitive, and they helped me redesign the whole store,” he says. Out went the 25-year-old fittings, and in went a new ceiling, floor, shelves, fridges – and a fresh new range. “We’ve made lots more space for frozen and chilled, less space for newspapers, and a bigger alcohol range. We concentrated on the things people actually wanted,” Venu says. “I spent the first six months hardly leaving the shop at all. I totally immersed myself in it, so I could get a real understanding of what my customers needed.”

service with a smile

Although relatively new to retailing, Venu’s had that most valuable of training courses – learning on the job. “I thought my first shop was well sited, in a well-to-do area, but I soon learned a valuable lesson: rich people don’t spend in a small shop. You couldn’t find any lower income houses near my first shop, but people with high disposable income wait until they’ve run out of something before they’ll spend with you. People who get paid weekly, though, rely on us. They buy as and when they need to. They don’t do the big shop at the weekend. That’s why you have to stock accordingly.” And, he says, it all comes back to price. “As soon as people noticed my prices were keener – even on the existing Spar stock –

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top tip You can’t change things overnight, so don’t rush. Think differently. Make your shop distinctive – so that people know who you are, but take the time to find out: what is it that people actually want?

they started to come back again,” Venu reveals. But there was something else happening here, too. Venu’s Lifestyle Express was offering something money couldn’t buy. Service with a smile. “I always say, education is important. But where you put it into practice doesn’t matter. Not many people end up doing the things they trained for. I did a degree in hotel management, and that’s taught me how important it is to treat your customers as a guest,” says Venu. “Always smile, talk nicely – don’t treat them as customers. Treat them as you’d like to be treated yourself.” “I learned that people stopped coming to this shop because of the owner’s frosty attitude, especially towards children. I make

Store profile

“In its first six months, Venu has turned the shop’s fortunes around – it’s now taking a full £4k more a week”

Venu’s bestseller basket

sure we’re appealing, and that we’ve got the time to stop and chat. For many older customers, we’re a real lifeline. We’re not just a shop, we’re a place to come when they’re feeling lonely. You just don’t get that in an out-of-town supermarket,” he says. New signs, new shelves, new stock: yes, Llanelli’s Lifestyle Express is a breath of fresh air for this tight-knit south Wales community. “You can’t leave the business to someone else when you’re starting off,” Venu says, “so my family and I moved into the flat above the shop, and have made it our business to be a real part of the community. If I don’t go down to the shop for a day I feel like I’m really missing out. These are my people. I love it. That’s why I’m here 365 days a year.” And that’s why, in its first six months, Venu has turned the shop’s fortunes around – it’s now taking a full £4k more a week. As they say, a change is as good as a rest.

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top tip Think seasonally – I have a slush machine for the summer, and a coffee machine for the winter. They both do incredibly well, and give us a real point of difference.

Practical advice

Create eyecatching promotion ends When it comes to creating a promotional end that packs a punch, it pays to keep it simple. Rather than cluttered shelves with products jostling for attention, think about what your customers will see and make it easy for the value to speak for itself. Great use of promotional POS

Just one or two deals per shelf For multi-buy deals, show the different packs included in the offer 34 lifestyle retailer

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Clear pricing, so customers can instantly see what great value is on offer

Uncluttered shelves

Keep it fully stocked; there’s nothing worse than an out-ofstock promotion

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Store profile

Store Profile

The heart and soul of the village When it comes to running a local store, the secret to success goes far beyond products, promotions and price; instead it’s about people and partnership ➼ issue 43 2017

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Store profile

n Shai and Javaid’s store has gained a reputation for its personable service

Fact file Location:  High Street,


Trading times: Mon–Fri

6.30am– 8.30pm, Sat–Sun 8am–8.30pm

Nearest The store is the competition:  only one in the village

Features:  ATM, coffee


he best local shops are much more than a business – they’re a loyal and much-loved member of their community. For retailers who get that right, the rest is sure to follow. For anyone starting out in a new career, you remember those who helped you avoid those rookie mistakes. Those who spent a little extra time with you and showed you the ropes. Now imagine what it’s like when you add a new life in a strange new country into the mix. It’s then you really appreciate a friendly face and a little local knowledge.

machine, PayPoint, Lottery, news agency, off-licence

Staff:  Three part time and Mr and Mrs Aziz

top tip Location is everything. You need to establish a strong customer base, and offer something no one else does.

helping hands

For Shai and Javaid Aziz, who run the Lifestyle Value store in the village of Llanbradach, a satellite suburb of Caerphilly, South Wales, those early helping hands made a real difference both to them and to Shai’s father before them. “When my dad took over the shop he had so much support ➥

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Store profile

from our local cash and carry, BA and then Blakemore, which is why we’ve always been loyal to them,” said Shai. Shai’s husband Javaid came to Wales after the couple married, having previously never left his native Pakistan. Javaid ran the family shop with his brother-in-law for a few years before they went off to explore pastures new and, in 1998, Shai and Javaid took over the reins completely. “I’ll never forget how kind the wholesalers were when we were starting out by giving us a credit limit and helping us out with essential retail advice,” admitted Shai. “At the time, the shop had a Costcutter fascia, but it was really only a remnant of its former life.”

kerb appeal

But it was more than that. For the couple, the prices were right and the range was comprehensive enough for them to stock what was the only store between the village and the big supermarkets of the nearby city. But one thing still niggled; the store had seen better days. So much so that the local council suggested they’d be up for half-funding a refit of its shop front to give the store some all-important kerb appeal. “We’re very “They were offering us a grant to spruce ourselves up,” said Shai. “In our heart of lucky to have a hearts we knew they were right, we’d just loyal customer never got around to it. I suppose we found it base, but we all a bit daunting but the offer of a 50% grant really made it tempting.” never take them Change was in the air. “We thought, well, for granted” if we’re going to do it, why just stop at the shop front,” said Shai. So, last August, thanks to help from Landmark’s Retail

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Operations Manager Craig Bourne, it was time for the store to have what can only be described as a major make-over. “We changed everything. The fascia, graphics, lights, ceiling, shelves, shop front – everything was replaced,” said Shai. Not a single inch of the store’s 2,500 square feet store was spared. “Despite the size of the task, it all went much more smoothly than I envisaged,” said Shai. The refit took around two months, yet the couple kept on trading. “We had to keep going as we know our customers would have been lost without us, although I think we closed for half an hour when we had to turn the electricity off,” laughs Shai. Thanks to the grant and the expertise of Craig and his team, the couple admit they wish they’d rung in the changes sooner. “The

Store profile

top tip You just can’t fake warmth and positivity. You have to put your heart into a career like retailing.

store has been transformed,” she said. “It looks so fresh, clean and modern and our customers absolutely love it.” But, of course, change takes time to bed in and be accepted. “Oh yes, we got the usual chorus of ‘I can’t find anything’ while our regular customers quickly learned how to navigate the new store!” Shai laughed.


While the refurbishment might have brought a fresh new look for the store, it was never going to dramatically alter its takings. “We’re a village store and we simply don’t rely on passing trade. We have our customer base and we’re the only shop locally so we couldn’t magic up a whole new revenue stream,” Shai said. What the exercise was really about was giving their customers a better experience and making the store as inviting as it could be. Sometimes, Shai admitted, it’s important to keep moving even if

you only need to stand still: “We’re very lucky we have a loyal customer base, but we know never to take them for granted,” said Shai. “When you’ve been part of the community for more than twenty years, your customers become your friends. Your family grows up in parallel with theirs. There’s a genuine affection that’s built up during that time,” said Shai. “I have four daughters and a son and while they’ve all moved away to pursue other careers, they

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Store profile

n The new-look store has been a hit with customers since the refurb

top tip Always go the extra mile. If you’ve not got something that one of your customers wants, get it in.

do help out and the villagers know them, like I know their children. There’s a heartfelt connection which is wonderful.” This is why, despite the fact that the family live half an hour away in Cardiff, they always open up for a few hours on Christmas Day, just in case any of the locals have forgotten their festive essentials such as tin foil, cranberry sauce or sprouts. “It’s about being loyal, again,” Shai says, “Yes, we’re trading but it’s not about the money, it’s about offering a service that people can depend upon. You just don’t get that in many places these days.” So, despite the huge upturn in sales following the refurb, are Shai and Javaid happy with their lot? “Yes, it’s a great little business. You can only do this sort of work if your heart’s in it. I always say sometimes the spirit is willing, even when the body is weak!” And when the couple want to take a rare break? “Our children come and help us out, no questions asked,” said Shai. So what is the secret of the couple’s success? “For us, it’s down to one thing: loyalty. We go the extra mile continually for our customers and as a result, they are loyal to us. Our partnership with them works.”

Shai’s bestseller basket

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In ot ct p de 21 O 7 1 2– 20

5.2bn The value of evening in-home snacking


of in-home meal occasions are snacks*


of consumers are dining out less and staying in more†

Save up t o

£XX on the Top 12

STOCK UP AT YOUR LOCAL LANDMARK WHOLESALE MEMBER DEPOT Abra Wholesale Blakemore Wholesale East End Foods (Plc) EDA Quality Foods First Choice Wholesale Ltd

Gilsons Wholesale Cash & Carry JW Gray Hi Line Hyperama Cash & Carry Jones Food Solutions

AG Parfett & Sons Ltd Sutherland Bros Ltd Time Wholesale Services TRS Cash & Carry Ltd United Wholesale Grocers

For more details contact your local Landmark Wholesale member depot, or to find your nearest depot, visit Sources: *Partners for Growth, Unilever; †Wrigley

M D or ea e ls Gr fr ea om t

Staying in is the new going out Stock up now!


10 tips

for social media success Social media is a fantastic resource for you to make your store stand out, but try to keep your platform a fun, energetic and lively place that you enjoy creating and your followers enjoy reading


ith research showing that independent retailers are quickly becoming more clued up about the power of social media, now is the time to make sure you’re up to date with how to give your retail store the strongest social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat are now widely regarded as powerful tools to engage with customers and often can be instrumental in expanding your customer base. Facebook is highly effective at engaging with your local community, attracting new customers and spreading the word about essential store information, such as opening times, promotions, new products and community news. Instagram is perfect for sharing

appealing product or store images and gaining followers and awareness using hashtags, whereas Twitter is great for tuning into industry conversations, giving shorter company updates and checking out what your competitors are up to on social media. The newcomer on the social media scene, Snapchat, can be utilised in a similar way to Twitter by giving short, more casual updates to your followers. Whether you are drawing attention to in-store promotions, new product launches, social media competitions targeted at gaining more followers and likes on your page or community news, the world is your oyster when it comes to social media. Don’t get left behind. Turn the page for our top 10 tips to help you get socially savvy.

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Don’t forget… always remember to double-check your content before posting. Maybe ask someone else to check it as well before pressing post. Nobody likes a spelling mistake!


Pick the platform that best suits your store, goals and ambitions

Decide how much time you have available to dedicate to social media; it is far better to pick one or two platforms and do them well than to stretch yourself too thin.


Once you set up your page, start spreading the word!

Now it’s time to get some followers! Start by spreading the word organically –­ tell your customers, family and friends and ask them to like your new page and share posts. You can then start building follower growth by targeting local potential customers. Try putting your town name into the search bar!

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have a Facebook page but haven’t gained many likes?

Don’t panic! You can increase interest by incentivising likes and shares. For example, you could offer a prize to the 100th follower of your page. A crate of beers, bottle of wine or £5 worth of groceries goes a long way to getting you more interaction online.


develop a sense of community

Share local news and people stories. Whether it’s a beer festival taking place in the area or a tree blocking a

main road, let your page be the one that customers visit to find out about what’s going on in the local area.


Remind customers about your offering

Social media is a fantastic platform to showcase your products, launch new ranges or introduce discounts. If you are offering a special discount for a limited time, post about it on social media and take a picture of the promotion in your store. Posts with images tend to receive better engagement from followers than posts that are just plain text. ➥



Use it to your advantage

Remind customers what’s so great about your store, such as your late opening hours, fantastic personal service or range of products. Hammer home why you’re better than the competition.


Keep your social media current and seasonal

If there’s great weather forecast for the weekend, use social media to tell your customers about your brilliant barbecue ranges and chilled beers, wines and ciders. By keeping your content spontaneous and current, you are more likely to attract engagement and increase followers.

promotion featuring discounted wines, beers and ingredients for the perfect curry. Using imagery of the promotion in store, the post featured a call to action encouraging customers to pop into their local store to check out the promotion for themselves. Genius!



So many businesses create a social media page and then forget about it. Make sure you frequently update your page with the above tips and you will be amazed at what can trigger a conversation.


Always say thank you

Don’t forget… to use pictures when you can

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Create a buzz on your social media page; usE it to launch in-store promotions.

Lifestyle Express Wick used its Facebook page to launch its brand-new Movie Night

Show your appreciation to those who help you to spread the word about your business with competitions and encourage your followers to like other posts and share their pages. By helping other local businesses, you will form part of a community, which may mean they will return the favour once again in the future.

Seasonal opportunities

Cold weather, hot sales As autumn and winter beckon so too does a key sales period for retailers. Prepare for the big events of the coming seasons with Retailer Matters’ handy guide


s the warmth of summer fades and the nights draw in, it’s a great time of year for retailers. With lots of events coming up, bringing with them fantastic opportunities to boost sales and create in-store theatre and eye-catching displays, autumn is a time for cool days and hot sales. It’s never too early to plan ahead to make the most of autumn and winter

sales opportunities. It’s out with the bestselling summer lines and in with comfort foods, hot food and drinks-to-go, plus themed lines – adapt your offering to make sure you maximise the additional sales that key events can bring and encourage more shoppers through your door. It’s an exciting time of year and an opportunity to get creative once more. Here are the three areas to focus your attention on. ➥

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Seasonal opportunities

1. Big night in A

t this time of year, customers want to batten down the hatches and enjoy an evening at home with family or friends and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. To get you started, take a look at which popular shows are back on TV to help steer you on what to stock. X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing both return to screens this autumn, so families will be looking for nights in which means treats: crisps, popcorn, ice cream, chocolate and soft drinks. Make decisions easy for busy parents by offering complete meal solutions, such as pizza, potato wedges, garlic bread, salad, dessert and a soft drink, all wrapped up in a meal deal offer as an added bonus.

adding desserts to your pizza section. Create your own multi-buy deals such as buy a pizza and bag of salad and get a soft drink bottle half price, or get a curry, side dish and bottle of beer for £5.

let’s get creative

Consider creating a specific ‘big night in’ zone to make it easy for grab-and-go shoppers. And think beyond the obvious; for example if your store is in an area with a large student population, provide plastic cups and plates, and games. If you don’t have space for a dedicated area, use

POS and bold signage to point customers in the right direction. Is it possible for you to move promotional products around your store depending on the day of the week, for example filling gondola ends or dump bins at the weekend with products for a big night in so that they’re easy to see and encourage impulse purchases? Bear in mind different shopper groups as well and what it is they’ll be looking for. Finally, look out for the excellent Landmark Wholesale themed promotions to really boost your sales. ➥


Big nights in centre around eating, but there’s a split in how people choose to eat. Some want to cook a special meal from scratch and others relish the thought of a night where they don’t need to cook and can enjoy a quick and easy takeaway-style meal. Cater for both with a selection of fresh ingredients to create a delicious meal, such as chicken or steak with vegetables, and ready-prepared foods such as pizza, lasagne, curry or chilli con carne. Increase basket spend by cross-merchandising, for example stocking a small selection of beers or wine with your ready meals, or

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ON PROMOTIONS, STOCK UP NOW! ©2017 The Coca-Cola Company. All rights reserved. FANTA is a registered trade mark of The Coca-Cola Company.

Fanta Orange 2539 Fanta Orange PMP 25388

Fanta Fruit Twist 4365 Fanta Fruit Twist PMP 4344

Seasonal opportunities

2. ‘Tis the season S easonal events provide great sales opportunities as customers get into the spirit. Again, it’s about making the shopping experience easy and enjoyable and that means showing customers exactly what you have, ideally in one place. Offers and promotions will catch the eye and give you a chance to wow customers. Plan for each event as far in advance as you can – if you leave it too late, customers will shop elsewhere.


Diwali is first up, with the five-day festival of light starting on 19 October. Show you understand your customers’ needs by stocking the products you know they’ll be looking for to enjoy the celebrations. If you can, create a display of products for the occasion, such as lights and traditional Indian sweets. People decorate their homes with lights and candles, celebrate with fireworks, enjoy family feasts and traditionally clean their homes in preparation, so make sure you cover all angles to help your customers celebrate.


Halloween is a huge opportunity for retailers to significantly boost their profit margins. With total Halloween sales steadily increasing year-on-year, this Halloween is expected to be no different. Consider ways you can make your store a real destination for Halloween shoppers, such as offering a steady stock of the

essentials, including sharing bags of sweets, pumpkins, decorations and fancy dress accessories such as fake teeth. Keep your prices sharp and provide offers on grab and sharing bags of sweets for all the trick or treaters, with price-marked packs showing your customers that your store offers the best value in town. Engaging visual merchandising will encourage shoppers to browse and spend, so don’t be afraid to go all out on decorating your store and even dressing up yourself! We know in-store theatre drives up sales, so why not push the boat out?

Bonfire night

Bonfire night means two things: fireworks and hot dogs, so make sure you stock up on sausages, bread rolls and ketchup, cross-merchandising to boost spend. Add some variety by offering burgers, burger buns, vegetarian options and, of course, don’t forget sweet treats for those who could be entertaining family and friends. Don’t forget to stock up on matches too.


Let’s not forget Christmas! It’s worth starting to stock a selection of yuletide products, especially chocolates and advent calendars, from October. It’s important to show your offers too as this will encourage shoppers to browse and even if they find it too early to buy, they’ll remember what you have and return to make their purchases closer to the big day. ➥

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Seasonal opportunities

3. Winter warmers N

ow is the time to adapt your offering to welcome winter. Think hot drinks, soups, winter vegetables, hearty ready meals, hot puddings, and hot food and drinksto-go. If you don’t currently offer hot food or hot drinks to take away, now is the time to revisit the possibility and consider whether it is a service you could offer in your store. Retailers find that it adds value to their overall offering and really boosts cross-purchase sales; for example a customer coming in to grab a coffee-to-go will also pick up a pastry for breakfast or sandwich for lunch, and those purchasing hot-food-to-go will grab a soft drink or snack too and maybe even their evening meal. If you do, remember to recommend products to go with your customers’ purchases to increase that all-important basket spend.


If you’re tight on space, think about changing things in store to reflect the seasons. If a Slush Puppie machine is a big hit in the summer months, monitor your sales throughout autumn and if they’re in decline, look at moving the Slush Puppie machine to your store room and using that space for a coffee machine. This way, you’ll always be offering what your customers want and need. Look at creating a gondola-end display near the front of your store dedicated to winter warmers that includes porridge for breakfast and desserts with custard. Cross-merchandise comfort food, such as cottage pie or bangers and mash with healthy winter veg, like carrots, swede and parsnips, for a warming evening dinner. And why not throw in an offer on red wine to complete the meal? And don’t forget those traditional crowd pleasers in the winter such as hot drinks and soups. Drive up sales of tinned and canned soups by adding an additional siting close to fresh bread. 58 lifestyle retailer

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Offer recipe cards with a list of ingredients to make homemade soups such as vegetable, minestrone and pea and ham. Position mini marshmallows close to the hot chocolate to drive up desire for an indulgent warming treat, and remind customers that the squirty cream is in the chiller. Make the most of the lower temperatures by thinking creatively, and raise your sales.

coming in your November/ december issue... leArning’s earning

Get the most out of your staff with The Lifestyle Learning Academy.



ho ho ho

Our guide to stocking up on your customers’ favourite festive treats this Christmas.

getting into the spirit

be inspired

Retailers share the secrets to their success and ideas they’ve invested in to help them along the way.

Plus 60 lifestyle retailer

We discuss all things alcohol and how spirits can really help to drive your sales up this winter.

Industry news and updates, hints and tips and the latest must-stock products

issue 43 2017



healthy choice The

We all know that eating healthily is important, but did you know it could help you draw in and maintain shoppers?



he latest research from him! Research & Consulting shows that Lifestyle Express shoppers value not only healthy products in store but also a freedom of choice. With 22% of shoppers highly rating the range of healthy options in store, make sure you continue to offer a choice of healthy food as this may well be the reason shoppers will visit your store over competitors.

of Lifestyle Express shoppers see healthy options or alternatives as important in store



of Lifestyle Express shoppers rate ingredients/content (gluten, added benefits, fat levels, sugar, calories) as one of the most important factors when selecting a carbonated soft drink in store


of Lifestyle Express shoppers rate health as one of the most important factors when selecting a fruit juice or fruit-flavoured drink in store


of Lifestyle Express shoppers highly rate the range of healthy options or alternatives in store 62 lifestyle retailer

of females think healthy products are very important in store compared to 26% of males

issue 43 2017

For more information. . .

. . . on him!’s research and insights programme, please contact

Lifestyle Retailer 43, Sep/Oct 2017  

The magazine exclusively for Lifestyle Express retailers

Lifestyle Retailer 43, Sep/Oct 2017  

The magazine exclusively for Lifestyle Express retailers