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Money spinners

Who knew that so many people wanted a car boot organiser or a large pet blanket or a car dash cam? Even though that's a bit of a rhetorical question, there is an answer and that is 'the pump-top promotion companies'. That's because these businesses have their fingers on the pulse of today's consumers' wants and needs. They're on the look out for the latest thing. Think Fidget Spinners whoever knew we needed such things? The answer to that is Asif Ayub, managing director at FastTrak, who says: "We introduced Fidget Spinners in April and they are our best seller this year; they've even eclipsed Loom Bands as a trend. We are still selling them and they are a steady seller but we are bringing out an icon version to coincide with the Emoji movie release and doing metal spinners throughout the summer."

Homing in

For Hickson's Forecourt in Lincoln, sports events such as big football matches bring extra sales from people buying beer and snacks to consume while they watch the game at home. Assistant manager Alex Flodman says crates of beer containing 10 or 15 cans as well as sharing bags of crisps go down well with armchair fans.

Moveable feast

Every year, people ask 'When is Easter this year?", because it's never on the same weekend. In 2017, Easter Sunday falls on April 16, which is some three weeks later than this year. It's defined by the moon, with Easter being the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon on or after the spring equinox on March 21. This is why Easter Sunday can fall any time between March 22 and April 25. So now you know. It might not seem important but, according to Mintel research, the timing of Easter reflects spending and it's a case of the later the better. Spending on Easter products increased just 4% in 2016, rising from £530m to an estimated £550m. But Mintel anticipates stronger growth for gift sales in 2017 thanks to the event falling in mid April.

Deck the shelves

The media may be full of messages encouraging us to cut down on sugar but you can bet your life that most households will be tucking into their favourite tin of twistwrap chocolates this Christmas. At this time of year, go into any grocery multiple and you'll likely have to fight your way past the stacks of chocolates on sale for a fiver. It doesn't seem to matter how many they stock, they always seem to sell out. People buy them for Christmas but oftentimes eat them well before then, then have to buy more and may come to you looking for some.

Scare and share

Anyone shopping in Spar Battlefield's store in Shrewsbury on Monday October 31, is in for a shock as they're likely to be served by a ghost or a ghoul. That's because you'll find manager Marcus Burnley-Lowe and his staff dressed up in Halloween-themed costumes. They're keen to embrace anything that adds a bit of excitement in-store and, of course, Halloween lends itself well to in-store theatre. Last year, because Halloween fell on a Saturday, they spread the theme across the weekend. But this year, with Halloween on a Monday, it's likely they'll just dress up on that day. Last year Marcus dressed up as Star Wars' character Jango Fett; this year who knows what treat he'll have in-store for his customers?

Sunny sellers

Summer brings with it lots of sales opportunities from ice creams and ice-cold soft drinks, to sunglasses and barbecue briquettes. The latter two items can often be sourced from your car care supplier. Indeed Convenience Distribution Group (CDG) is currently running a promotion on Object Eyewear sunglasses. You can currently get 24 pairs of sunglasses for just £60 (which works out at £2.50 a pair) and a free six-peg display stand. The suggested selling price for the sunglasses is £4.99, so you make a very decent margin on them plus they are available on sale or return terms so if, for any reason, you don't sell them they will be uplifted and credited to your account in October.

Net more profits

The general media may be full of stories about the forthcoming EU in/out referendum, but the sports pages will be full of articles about another EU showdown the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament.

Merry making

Christmas truly is the season to be jolly because, according to Nielsen, it is the number one season that shoppers buy extra products for. And confectionery is the number one category specifically bought in convenience stores for Christmas.

Ghoulish gains

This year Halloween falls on a Saturday (October 31), which can mean only one thing that it's likely to be a bigger event than ever. You can expect families up and down the country to be carving pumpkins, going trick-or-treating and generally having a ghoulishly good time.

Tackle this

Rugby union's World Cup takes place through September and October with the added bonus for the nation's retailers of being co-hosted by England and Wales. Games will be played in 13 towns and cities with favourable live TV times, providing a double whammy of traffic lucky ticket holders on their way to and from games and armchair fans stocking for a big night, or in many cases, day in.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 19 August 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East132.5364.57140.16129.06
East Midlands132.1066.40141.37129.07
London131.85141.85129.52
North East130.85144.25128.58
North West131.60139.66128.82
Northern Ireland129.13134.50126.35
Scotland131.8363.30140.01129.04
South East132.8662.50141.62129.81
South West132.24138.89129.06
Wales131.09138.10128.06
West Midlands131.8660.90141.24128.98
Yorkshire & Humber131.40140.49128.65

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