Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Shop Talk - Tracy West

Valentine's Day (February 14) falls on a Saturday this year, which is always good news for restaurants but I think it's good news for you too. That's because even though surveys say people are spending more on eating out in restaurants, many consumers just haven't got their confidence back yet to go splashing the cash. So instead they'll opt for a cosy night in. M&S has done wonders for the 'easy meal at home' market with its special deals but with all the cookery shows on TV you can bet there are some people men and women who will be showing off their culinary skills on February 14. Why not help them along? Not just with special deals but maybe some recipe ideas? Or, if you have an off licence, suggestions for which wine goes best with which type of food. Wine and cider suppliers say food pairing is a big trend. Thatchers Cider has been working with Tim Maddams famous for his work at River Cottage and award-winning Indian cookery teacher Bini Ludlow to create a series of menus and food pairing ideas. Its aim is to offer retailers new ways to engage with consumers.

But it's not just meals for Valentine's, there are the flowers, the cards and the chocolates too. Indeed according to Mintel, consumers spent £430m on Valentine's Day in 2014. The research company notes that even though Feb 14 is a key event for flowers red roses anyone? chocolates are more popular.

Top seller is a card, with 32% of the people Mintel surveyed buying one, followed by chocolates, bought by 24% of respondents, and flowers purchased by 20%. However, there's a massive sales opportunity as 45% of people said they bought nothing to celebrate the day. I wonder, are they hard of heart? Unlucky in love? Or just tight?

Mr West and I don't do Valentine's cards but if I don't get at least one red rose there's hell to pay.

Sexist I know, but men are famous for being 'last-minute merchants' and many will only realise that it's Valentine's Day on the day itself. You can cater for them by having an 'in yer face' display of choccies and other goodies to distract them as they go to the till to pay for their fuel or their car wash.

You could even get staff to remind them, asking 'Do you know what today is?' It would be worth it just to see the panic written across their faces!

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 18 September 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East120.75128.55119.84
East Midlands120.29128.81119.63
London120.7558.57130.05119.82
North East120.2059.90129.98119.40
North West120.52128.62119.81
Northern Ireland119.2369.90126.85119.03
Scotland120.60128.18119.75
South East121.03130.63120.24
South West120.75129.31119.96
Wales120.35127.44119.57
West Midlands120.4262.90130.69119.84
Yorkshire & Humber120.1971.90128.67119.59

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