Blueprint winners in great spirits

Abig lesson in how to sell more spirits – 15% more in this case – comes from the new 2005 Blueprint Retailers of the Year. The award went to Harry and Kully Kaur at the recent Drinksummit.
One of the reasons was their sensible mix of spirits self-select on an open shelf with fractionals behind the counter. What a great Blueprint tip for wholesalers to pass on to their retailers as the big Christmas peak in spirits approaches.

The Kaurs have owned Scisset Supermarket in Scisset, West Yorkshire, for 18 years, and have used the Blueprint scheme for the past seven. In that time, they have developed their 1,000 sq ft store to utilise space and tailor the right range to deliver exactly what their customers want.

“We first used the Blueprint for Ales, Lagers and Ciders back in 1998. We weren’t convinced we had the right stock or were displaying it to the best advantage. We found the Blueprint answered all our problems. It’s become our bible for all things beer,” explains Kully Kaur.

Following the successful implementation of the Ales, Lagers and Ciders planogram, they also adopted the initiatives for the wine and spirits and fortified wines categories. They updated the off licence with the ARTD Blueprint when it was launched in 2004.

However, once the Kaurs had re-merchandised the entire off licence section, their work with the Blueprint did not stop there. They looked for ways to expand on the Blueprint guidelines to make it work better for them. With help from Take Home Blueprint Scheme director Ross Shelley, Harry and Kully were keen to experiment with the planograms to continue to improve their offering.

One way was by achieving the right balance between self-select and shrinkage on their spirits section, by keeping fractionals defended behind the counter while litres, 70cls and half-litres were placed out in-store but close to the counter.

Kully explains: “Ross suggested we try the self-select option and see what happened as we were missing out on sales from customers’ reluctance to ask the price of a product or browse the entire shelf as there is pressure on them to then purchase the item. Self-service allowed customers to physically examine each product and clearly see the price.

“Since implementing this option, volume sales have increased by at least 15% and there have been no thefts as a result. In particular customers are now trying the dearer products, and malt whisky has changed from a seasonal seller at Christmas to an all-year strong seller.”

Recently, the introduction of the new-style 16-page Ales, Lagers and Ciders Blueprint for 2005 was used as an excuse to revamp their off licence section. As well as the updated planograms there is a lot of information on regional differences and brand information.

The Kaurs recognised the point of difference they could have over their competition with the introduction of chilled alcohol and made a major investment in dairy decks.

Their entire beer range as well as core brands as recommended on the Blueprints were placed in the chillers to capitalise on the warmer summer months and the drink-now market that the independent convenience sector can cater for so perfectly.

Kully concludes: “How we’ve made the Blueprint work for us is that we are constantly reviewing it. We update each category when new planograms come out. We’ve experimented with different options like the self-select and the dairy decks, which have really improved sales.

“Once you understand the Blueprint principles, it’s easy to adapt to fit your store and your customers. It’s a relationship that works well for us – the Blueprint provides the industry knowledge and we bring our experience and understanding of our customers. Together it’s made a success of our alcohol sales.”
Take Home Blueprint Contact : 0161 440 2770

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