PLOD puts the leaders on display

The FWD Blueprint for Spirits and Fortified Wines is supported by suppliers genuinely backing the wholesale sector in its efforts to increase sales in this category. The scheme is now launching the most courageous and enterprising trial ever designed for the local store – moving some spirits from the “glass coffin” behind the counter to open shelves next to the check-out. As part of the agreed strategy of trialling the move from ‘behind the counter’ merchandising to self-serve for spirits, with Alpha Security Caps, a range of eight trial outlets has been nominated.

They are currently being visited by the Blueprint team, to ensure that they meet the stringent criteria set, in that they have fully working EPOS systems and the facility to move spirits (bottles and one litre sizes) to a spot near the till, and/or under CCTV surveillance.

One of the triallists, Mark Johnson has set up a dedicated fixture opposite his till, so that he and his staff can keep a watchful eye on the fixture. The test criteria for this move will measure spirits sales for last year versus the eight-week test this year.

With his fixture now in place, PLOD (Putting Leaders On Display) was installed by Dave Batt and Ross Shelley from the Blueprint team on December 6. Brian Keal of Colindale Associates, UK distributors of the Alpha Security Caps, was on hand to help with the installation of the equipment and training staff.

Discussions with the owners of another trial store, Ernie and Fran Pearcey, showed the high level of professionalism they use in running their store.

This includes CCTV, fully active EPOS and state of the art dairy deck chiller units for white and rosé wines, ARTDs, lagers and ales.

They were more than willing to consider a range of options for their self-service section, but having discussed this with Batt and Joe Mitchell, the local Blueprint specialist, it was agreed that the shelves that were nearest the till would be most appropriate.
As the Pearcys have only been in the store since April this year, they have no data from 2004 and therefore, the first weeks of 2006 will provide the “before” figures and then remerchandising and installation of the security system will follow.

Retailer Sunder Sandher was visited by Penny Gildroy, the local specialist, and Batt on December 8. His shop serves the local community and has spirits located behind the counter.

With full EPOS and CCTV security, Sunder is eager to progress the trial of PLOD in the New Year.

This will entail reducing his range of magazines and putting up a 3×1 metre fixture adjacent to the till area to take the major brands.

Sunder will be buying in additional stock for this new fixture using Blueprint recommendations as his buying guide.

WHAT DO WE DO IN THE SHELF SPACE LEFT VACANT?
The Blueprint Teams have been regularly reporting on the products that retailers see as “most vulnerable to theft”. In the main, they concur with nationally published statistics that these products are toiletries, sweets, alcohol and anything above else above £3.50.

We even have had reports of a lady caught on CCTV putting a pack of frozen bacon down her tracksuit bottoms…the retailer kept her talking until she had to admit to her misdemeanour…. through frost bite.

When the Blueprint Team members are in store, the main recommendation is to give fractional and miniatures more prominence in the cabinet behind the counter on the usable shelves…with legible pricing.

The shelves below eyeline at the counter can be regarded as a stock area for spirits and fortified wines, which most retailers cannot fit on the fixture but need to be kept secure.

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