Six things I learnt from my day with a retailer

General manager Mr Singh of BMP Stores in Smethwick, Birmingham has added £2000 per week to his sales after adopting the Lifestyle Express fascia

Symbol status has boosted sales by £2000

Mr Singh has only been with Lifestyle Express for two years, but said that it’s added £2000 per week to his sales. Before taking on the fascia, the store was unaffiliated. He chose Lifestyle Express over other symbol groups because of the freedom it gives him. They are not obligated to buy a certain range from Landmark members – or stock a certain amount of own-label lines.

Customers love price-marks

While helping to re-stock and re-face the shop, I noticed that a majority of SKUs were price-marked – about 70-80% of the entire shop. Mr Singh said that his customers trust price-marks so they continue to use them as much as possible. Mr Singh often runs promotions that offer even better value than the price mark (i.e. two Dairy lee Dunkers for £1 or PMP 69p each).

Good deals are only good if they’re available!

Mr Singh likes to shop around at Hyperama, East End, Soho C&C and sometimes Booker. He said that he likes to go where the deals are. One particular deal did really well this week: jars of Carte Doir coffee (100g) for £2, but he was disappointed that he could not get any more at his local depot.

Own-label lines are performing well

The store had a really strong own-label offering, a small section of the store was dedicated entirely to own-label groceries, like toilet roll, foil, washing up liquid, tea bags etc. Own-label options were also offered across other categories around the store, particularly energy drinks and canned goods. Mr Singh said he is looking forward to stocking Landmark’s new own-label Amber Strong cider (he is getting some in this week), but that it can be difficult to know where to put new products when they already have quite an extensive cider range.

Aloe Vera drinks are really taking off

Mr Singh had a fantastic range of soft drinks, well chilled and positioned near the entrance of the store. He said that Aloe Vera drinks were selling particularly well – They started off with just one SKU (Grace) but it was so popular that they now stock three different SKUs. He’d like to stock more but he doesn’t have much space (actually, he has lots of space but a really wide range of chilled drinks). Energy drinks are also popular with his customers, particularly Red Bull and Landmark’s LSV – Mr Singh stocked four different LSV flavour variants.

Cash & carry is still king for many retailers

We discussed how many wholesalers are now moving towards a ‘clicks with bricks’ model and a delivered option but he said that he wasn’t interested. He spends a lot of time in the shop, so it’s nice to pop out. He also said that when goods are delivered, there is a greater risk of them being damaged. Visiting the cash & carry will always be his preferred method of shopping.


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