The Spar store in the Cornish village of St Dennis near St Austell is a bustling local store at the heart of the community. Alcoholic drinks sales represent a major part of total turnover and, as such, the store was rich in potential for a Blueprint remerchandising exercise.
Accepting an invitation to help, expert merchandiser Ian Davey set to work, revamping the display to FWD Take Home Blueprint standards and offering manager Dawn Wilmot help and suggestions to increase sales.
Owner Mark Gillet, also has Spar stores in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, all stocking the same product ranges. However, Ian did make some other recommendations which Dawn took on board with success.
The major area of improvement was the wine range which was moved from the shop floor to a newly-installed chiller. Ian advised Dawn to ensure that all the top brand white wines were prominently displayed, as well as stocking the top beer and cider brands in the chiller.
Ian said: “It is a great store that obviously caters for its local market well. The staff know what their customers want and what sells well. However, they needed the Blueprint to help ensure there was the right balance of stock available and to merchandise the categories to best display the selection on offer.
“It is proof that the Blueprint is not a straitjacket and that it can be tailored to work in conjunction with the store owner’s knowledge of his customers.”
He also looked at the store’s ARTD (alcoholic ready to drinks) category. While there was a good variety of brands stocked, Ian noted that they only offered large bottles and therefore recommended Dawn introduce a variety of bottle and pack sizes across the top brands.
Since the makeover, there has been a remarkable uplift in sales, particularly in the wines sector. ARTDs have also picked up with the introduction of new sizes. Dawn comments: “All the wines seem to have increased in sales, but the biggest increase is to my own brands. I think it is due to the way the wines are set out to the Blueprint for Wine. The plan is great, as it gives all brands a chance.
“With the busy Christmas period approaching, it was perfect timing for the fixtures to be remerchandised, and hopefully the boost in sales we received as a result will continue on into the traditionally quiet new year.”
Dawn was also impressed with the overall knowledge and professionalism of the Blueprint team which had visited her store. She gave Blueprint the ultimate accolade by saying that her loyal customers like the new look, too. Yet another result for the FWD Blueprint.
Industry best advice is the basis for the educational Blueprint scheme which has been available to all independent retailers since 1994. Many symbol retailers have been assisted by the scheme in addition to non-affiliated store owners sourcing at cash and carry.
Scheme director, Ross Shelley commented: “In this case the Blueprint’s allocation on-shelf of own label wines motivated more sales. The scheme gives adequate space to own label to improve the total offering and it works.”