Helping stores grow sales

Costcutter, Exeter 

Background

After 10 years running convenience stores for other people, Ross Newham knew what makes a store successful when he opened his own store in December 2014. That is why he was able to double his store’s turnover in the first year of opening.

For his first store that he can call his own, Ross chose a busy city centre site. Keen to ensure maximum footfall, his store is located just beside a popular taxi office and by a major bus stop. He bought two adjacent shop units to create his single shop which has a 51ft Costcutter fascia.

How was growth achieved?

Despite being the first convenience store in that parade of shops, Ross still faced stiff competition in the form of a local Tesco, amongst other stores. However, using his considerable retail experience, Ross has worked hard to get all the fundamentals right.

As an experienced retailer, he managed all the layout and range decisions himself making sure that the store is perfectly suited to local shopper demands. He has also given considerable shelf space to the Independent own brand products having recognised how important own label products are to the multiples as sales drivers. As a keen advocate of Independent, he has been very pleased to hear the positive comments on quality and price he has received from customers.

Another key area he has focussed on is promotions. Ross uses Costcutter’s promotion pack, buying 2,000 leaflets every three weeks which he and his family distribute by hand. This has been an important driver of footfall using the hard-hitting promotions that Costcutter offers.

Finally, as someone who has no tolerance for poor customer service when he is out shopping himself, he will not tolerate poor customer service in his own store. That is why he has worked hard with his staff to create a ‘culture of service’ where the customer’s needs are always put first and that the basics, like making sure the store is presented well and tidy, are always got right. To achieve this he has placed a great emphasis on recruiting and retaining exceptional staff members. Indeed, of the 9 new jobs he has created, many have joined Ross from stores he has previously run. All his staff receive regular training, are paid above the minimum wage and work hard together to create a good atmosphere in the store which is rewarded through excellent customer feedback.

Results

Ross has doubled his turnover to £15,000 per week in just one year and has his eyes set firmly on growth of 10% or more in his second year of trading. He plans to achieve this by working hard on the core retail fundamentals of right range, right promotions and marketing, and excellent customer service.

At the same time, he is always mindful of costs within his business. For example, despite only being open for a year, he has already replaced his integral fridges with more expensive remote units so that he can reduce his electricity bills.

“From my point of view, achieving sales growth is about getting the basics right. Obviously that starts with the location of the store, making sure that it is in a high footfall area. But then it is about making sure the layout and range are as good as they can be and if you are not confident that you have the experience to do that, then the Costcutter team are there on hand to help. And being part of Costcutter I think is essential for sales growth because they are at the forefront of price, range and supply, they have the advertising and promotions that will drive footfall, and a brand that customers know and love.”