Spirits sales soar by 29% thanks to PLOD

Sales have been boosted by 29% in an in-store trial, initiated by the Blueprint for Spirits and Fortified Wines, in which spirits were displayed on open shelves near the till. The Blueprint scheme under the title of Putting Leaders On Display (PLOD) transfers 70cl spirits from the cabinet behind the counter to open shelves near the till.

Security caps are fitted to the 70cls and a detacher installed which is used by the retailer when the product is sold. If the bottle is stolen, it must be smashed by the thief to get to the liquid.

The cabinet behind the counter can then then be used for a comprehensive display of fractionals, which can add to the “spirit appeal” of the store.

The latest trial to demonstrate that this is the future of spirits merchandising in the independent sector – with significant leaps in sales possible – took place at the Jones Day and Night store at Melksham, Wiltshire, run by Simon Jones.

The shop was the subject of a Hot House makeover recently under the Landmark Wholesale group’s energetic drive for improved store standards, improved ranging and display.

The Hot House team recommended that Simon’s store should become part of the PLOD trials which are taking place throughout the country and showing substantial increases in the sales of spirits.

Dave Batt, who is managing the PLOD trials nationwide, scheduled the makeover to coincide with the Hot House implementation to ensure minimum disruption to the store’s service to the local community.

Dave says: “The Hot House makeover involved an interior re-fit and an upgrade of the exterior. We were anxious to co-ordinate the implementation of PLOD with the overall store makeover and that’s what we did.”

Colin Barton, of Colindale Associates, suppliers of the security cap system, was on hand to train Simon and his staff on how to fix and detach the caps – a very simple operation.

Simon decided that the new 70cl spirits section should be a self-serve fixture to the side of the till area. The total spirits inventory in the Day and Night shop was re-appraised and brought into line with the Blueprint principles of selecting brands which are in consumer demand. Missing brands Malibu, Baileys and Jack Daniels were given a presence.

Now Epos data from before and after the trial shows that spirits sales increased by 29%.

Alan Toft, Blueprint chairman, says: “Selling spirits from open shelves near the till may not be the right thing to do in some shops. But there are thousands of stores where it will be very practical to implement PLOD and it will work.

“This activity could only be trialled objectively through the integrity of the Blueprint principles which are trusted by the sector. It is a win for the independent retailer, the wholesaler and the supplier.”

The Blueprint for Spirits and Fortified Wines partners Blueprints for Wine, ARTDs and Ales, Lagers and Ciders, all of which are guaranteed to increase off licence sales for the independent retailers who implement them.

The Blueprints were launched by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors in 1994 and are now the accepted benchmarks for the total wholesale/independent sector.

The guidance is educational and not prescriptive – retailers are advised to give adequate space to regional and local favourites.

l Contact: Blueprint Helpline 0161 440 2770.

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