‘All is well in small format stores’ …my view from this week’s store visits

Well, what a week to visit stores and see them in all their glory. Let’s hope the weather continues and consumers can find an alternative reason to gather, celebrate and be uplifted, as this has undoubtedly been a summer not to forget for the convenience sector. Each and every retailer I have spoken to in the last 7 days talks of ‘best ever trading’, ‘Like for likes up double digit’ and ‘I’m seeing new customers in store’, how wonderful to hear. No doubt the weather is a huge factor, let’s see how much the bubble has burst after last night’s disappointment. I for one hope the feel good factor remains and I continue to hear uplifting tales.

An ACS study tour in the Cotswolds was not just a revelation in all things good but left me in no doubt that the sector is at the forefront of great community retailing. Great locations, friendly staff, pride in community, awesome local products, innovative displays and adoption of technology all evident. I’ve visited Spar, Nisa, Londis, Budgens and Co-op stores, each wonderfully individual and happy to welcome me (and the rest of the study tour) and share what makes them special.

Having worked in this industry for as long as I have it can be frustrating to hear the negatives and doomungers. Consolidation seems to have raised the bar, competiton from other markets is making retailers think innovatively, tecnology is now available to help compete with anyone in the retail arena. Time to shout loud and proud.

The Butchery counter at Warners Budgens Moreton In The Marsh was exceptional.

Local produce mixed with Spar supplied produce at the excellent ‘The Village Shop’ in Hook Norton. What a great display !

A great range of BBQ meats and well merchandised at Londis. This retailer also had plenty of cream merchandised with his strawberries and plenty of fizz…. there are tennis courts near his store!

I think these window graphics from Nisa say it all…….

Local beer, produce, cheese and bakery all very evident in all stores but most encouraging of all was the adoption of technology. This clearly put a smile on my face given my new role as head of convenience at TLM. Self-service tills, shop-and-go apps, loyalty and reward schemes, electronic shelf edge labels all digitally available, so the doomongers can stand down, tech is on its way to support the convenience sector and I look forward to visiting many more stores like these great examples in the future.

Spare 4 minutes to see how tech can support your business by watching this video.

For more information on how TLM can support please get in touch – jonathan.rons@tlmgroup.co.uk

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