Christmas seems to come round quicker every year, and shoppers have been bombarded with festive displays in the High Street for some time. But if you’re unprepared for those extra sales in the lead up to Christmas and New Year, there’s still plenty of time.
One of the key things to remember is to avoid out-of-stocks of the best-selling brands, but Mike Estlea, range manager at Budgens, also advises stores to dedicate a display area to Christmas products in a prominent position to encourage impulse sales.
“High-volume lines such as tins of sweets should be stacked in strategic places around the shop so customers can quickly find Christmas necessities,” he says. “Bright point of sale material should be used to highlight the fixture.”
Estlea also explains the importance of giving the customer good value: “Price-based promotions are always popular and as Christmas gets closer, Budgens runs various promotions on beers, wines and spirits as well as chocolates and savoury snacks. Again these are prominently displayed to encourage pick up.”
Budgens also reminds retailers that it’s not just seasonal products that are in high demand. “In the week leading up to Christmas, fresh foods become increasingly important, with standard lines such as bread and milk selling well. We also stock up on cheeses, fruit and vegetables, flowers and plants which all show a dramatic sales uplift,” says Estlea.
Christmas is the perfect time to cash in on extra confectionery sales, but Cadbury Trebor Bassett says most forecourts don’t traditionally plan or promote seasonal displays in the same way as high street retailers, but that’s often what shoppers expect to see.
The company says forecourts need to consider making a proper occasion of Christmas to boost incremental sales. “Dual siting can help to boost sales, and by using a variety of seasonal products forecourt retailers can make an impressive Christmas display,” says Chris Morgan, customer relations director at CTB.
There are also rules that apply to specific products. Eg, indulgent self-eat seasonal treats such as Cadbury Snow Bites or Nestlé Big Purple One should be positioned next to the till point to make the most of impulse purchases. And many shoppers on their way to parties may pick up some sharing products such as Cadbury Heroes if they are well merchandised and easily accessible.
Kraft Foods has put its consumer insight to the test for Christmas 2003 and predicts that confectionery will capitalise on the growth of the sharing market. With 71 per cent growth since 1996 – when only two sharing products (Roses and Quality Street) were on the market – sharing products, and most significantly twistwraps, have become leading lights in the special occasion category, with the market now worth £161m.
“The success of the sharing market has been driven by the flexibility of miniature products, offering consumers a variety of tastes and the opportunity to enjoy a little individually-wrapped treat every day,” explains Easton Millar, trade relations manager at Kraft Foods.
From September, retailers have been able to stock new Terry’s Chocolate Orange Segsations – a mix of individually-wrapped segments of original Terry’s Chocolate Orange, milk orange chocolate studded with honeycomb flavour, white segments from Terry’s Chocolate Orange, milk orange chocolate packed with crispy puffed rice, and milk orange chocolate with a layer of darker chocolate.
After a successful 2002, Masterfoods is again producing a special Celebrations price-marked pack in a large carton format (465g). The Celebrations price-marked pack will now retail at £3.79, a reduction in price from £4.25.
Sam McElligott, trade relations manager at Masterfoods, says: “We’ve introduced this exclusive pack to provide support for independents at a time of the year when we know high impulse sales can be achieved.”
Meanwhile, in sugar confectionery, Haribo is helping retailers drum up incremental business with festive sharing packs of its best-selling lines.
Helmut Mager, managing director at Haribo, says: “We introduced our first Christmas packs six years ago, and they have proved a real winner for retailers because they reflect the one-off nature of the occasion. It is important that retailers offer their customers something different to the usual chocolate boxes.”
The seasonal packs include: 1,000g drums of Starmix, Tangfastics, Kiddie’s SuperMix and Fantasy Mix, which have a rrp of £2.99. The 475g drums of Starmix, Tangfastics and Kiddie’s SuperMix have a rrp of £2.49; and 350g packs of Mallow Mix which have a rrp of £2.99.
Walkers Snacks is kicking off the festive period with its biggest ever Christmas programme. The company is launching a range of limited edition – Sensations Nut Clusters, Doritos Christmas Trees, Honey Roasted Ham flavour Sensations crisps – as well as reintroducing Turkey & Paxo crisps.
New Sensations Nut Clusters are peanuts covered in a nut cluster in a choice of three flavours – Chilli Spice, Sweet Tomato Salsa and Sour & Cream Onion.
“Our new launches will allow retailers to cash in on three elements that are key to sales growth during the festive season – new flavours, new pack sizes and product innovation,” says Walkers’ trade marketing manager Nicky Seal. “Salty snacks experience huge growth at Christmas and we are urging retailers to fully stock up on all the festive snacks to take advantage of the sales uplift expected.”
Nut Clusters has been launched in response to the growing popularity of premium snacks at a time when sales reach a yearly high with more than half of all UK households buying nuts in the lead-up to Christmas. Nut Clusters come in a tub and will benefit from the £1m Sensations TV campaign.
Honey Roasted Ham Sensations, available for 16 weeks in 40g and 150g bags, will also benefit from TV advertising to support the brand. And as bigger bags see a sales uplift during Christmas, Walkers has introduced its best selling Sensations flavours – Thai Sweet Chilli and Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper – in 300g sharing bags. Rrp is £1.99.
Christmas tree shaped lightly salted Doritos will also be available in a 200g sharing bag. The limited edition snack has a rrp of £1.24 and will be supported by a £1m Doritos Chip and Dip TV campaign.
Meanwhile, Walkers Turkey & Paxo returns for a limited period, and will also this year come in a six-pack. Rrp is 27p for the standard bag and £1.23 for the multipack.
Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without mince pies, and the festive treat accounts for 50 per cent of the seasonal cake category. With this in mind, Manor Bakeries has launched Mr Kipling Individual Merry Mince Pies exclusively for forecourts and foodservice outlets.
The company is also introducing Mr Kipling Christmas Slices in a twinpack so consumers can eat Christmas cake on the go.
A £1m brand support for Mr Kipling this Christmas will include a Mr Kipling Christmas themed campaign.
BATTERIES AND FILM
The lead up to Christmas is the biggest battery sales opportunity for retailers, with over one third of all batteries sold in the last three months of the year, according to IRI. With this in mind, it is essential for retailers to make certain that their battery fixtures and stocks are in surplus during this peak time.
Research has identified that batteries rarely make the shopping list and are, in most instances, an impulse purchase. Therefore, to guarantee maximum battery profits over the festive season, retailers should ensure batteries are merchandised in a hierarchical format based upon frequency of purchase – AAA and AA at eye level and larger batteries towards the bottom. Fixtures should be placed in high traffic aisles, front of store spaces, gondola ends and till points.
With Christmas comes a rise in photography, and to celebrate the season and help boost film and single-use camera sales, Agfa is offering a ‘Buy one, get one free’ promotion on its range of Vista films.
As part of the offer, Agfa will provide 10 per cent free stock on Vista orders over 100 films. Retailers will also receive one of Agfa’s festive winter displays to give full impact in-store.
Graham Jackson, Agfa national sales manager, says: “Christmas is the perfect time to maximise film and single-use camera revenue. Retailers could also consider merchandising film and cameras with indigestion tablets and hangover cures, creating the perfect Christmas party pack.”
When it comes to alcohol sales at Christmas, Interbrew is encouraging independent retailers to focus on bulk packs and big brands.
The company is helping retailers trade shoppers up to larger purchases with the launch of festive ‘fridge packs’ – 10x500ml can packs (5x2) of Stella Artois and Tennent’s Lager – which are exclusive to the independent sector.
It is also continuing its price-marking strategy on brands including Castlemaine XXXX, Boddingtons and Murphy’s.
Steve Kitching, managing director of take-home sales at Interbrew UK, says: “Christmas is the key time of year when shoppers are looking to buy beer in bulk because there is a huge increase in home entertaining. Price-marked packs communicate to shoppers that they are getting a good deal and this will help independents compete against the strong challenge of multiple retailers over Christmas.”