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Hit December with our ‘Must-Stock’ Guide

We’re entering one of the busiest times of year for retailers. Festive food and gifts will already be out in some stores, but many retailers are tweaking their holiday line-up and festive promotions strategy. The Retail Data Partnership (TRDP) have investigated the trends in pre-holiday trading in December 2014, and have developed a guide to the ‘must stock’ festive items for 2015.

The SAS Holiday Shopper Survey 2015 indicated that overall, shoppers will spend more this year than they did in 2014, predicting this festive holiday to be the best yet for sales.

The survey recognised bargains as the biggest drivers of gift buying with customers trading luxury department stores for low-price discounters. Retailers will expect high demand in the final weeks before the holidays, and won’t want to start discounting too soon.

"Telefonica conducted an online survey of the final weeks before the holidays in 2014 which indicated that footfall was 71% higher than any other week."

To avoid a disappointing start to the New Year, retailers need to be stocking all the right produce to help support resolutions and in turn, drive sales.

Some customers might wait for festive promotions before making a final purchase, but as an independent retailer you needn’t allow discounting to take the sparkle out of sale opportunities.

"Off Licence News 2015 have indicated that consumers are not necessarily looking for deals and deep-cut pricing around the holiday season, preferring to treat themselves and their family and friends to ensure quality. Well-known brands will be popular among shoppers as products they are familiar with, can trust and are prepared to pay more for.

With consumers feeling more relaxed and deliberately looking for conspicuous buys to satisfy their need to celebrate, all retailers should take the opportunity to trade up. This is the one month of the year when consumers will pay more for premium brands.

"In 2014 HIM research found that 42% of consumers planned to trade up to more branded food and drink for their festive holiday shop.

This is truly the season to be jolly because according to a Nielsen survey conducted in 2015:

"…it is the season that shoppers buy extra products for, and confectionery is the No.1 category specifically bought in convenience stores.

Retailers should organise their confectionery selections and novelty stocking fillers to capitalise on this opportunity.

If you didn’t stock larger confectionery products such as the 60g Toblerone triangle last year, then you should absolutely consider it this year.

"One million pounds-worth of the product was sold in 2014 and, according to Nielsen, it was the third bestselling new line last year.

Branded confectionary is sure to be a popular choice over the festive period. With its reputation in 2014, it can be guaranteed to drive sales.

"Forecourt Trader UK 2015 indicated that Mars produced the popular Maltesers Merryteaser mini Reindeer range to drive sales and maximise impulse purchases. They also found that the Nestlé’s range accounted for 50% of giant tube sales in 2014. The winners were: Smarties (the No.1 bestselling giant tube), Milkybar (the second bestselling tube) and the Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles (the third bestseller).

Place these products prominently near the till to trigger excitement and impulse novelty buying. This is a prime opportunity to cross-sell confectionery to increase sales.

According to Convenience Store (November 2015),

"Branded rum has already attracted 123% more shoppers in comparison to the last holiday season.

This is thanks to aggressive marketing campaigns such as Captain Morgan. Their new brand of white rum competes with similar products such as Bacardi.

Independent retailers sell more alcoholic drinks over the Christmas period, with a third of the British population buying branded drinks as gifts. Balance a selection of premium brands such as Jack Daniels, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Smirnoff, Courvoisier and Old Mout with less expensive products to increase sales at both ends of the price range. You need to provide for those aspiring to premium brands as well as thriftier customers.

Whatever you decide to stock, make sure that you display it with pizzazz and finesse!

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