LOCATION: This Forecourt Trader of the Year award-winning site is located on the busy Portsmouth Road, just off the A27. It is on the edge of a dense area of housing, by Highbury College and next to a pub.
FORECOURT: The Jet corporate colours ensure a distinctive site with the pole and canopy visible from some distance. The canopy covers three multi-media pumps and a separate red diesel pump. The retail price of fuel was keenly competitive at 2ppl less than a Tesco Express site I passed.
The pumps were all in excellent order, clean and sparkling. The multi-media messages were up-to-date and relevant.
There are nine designated parking bays and each was in use at some time during my visit.
To the left hand side of the site is a covered area with two jet washes and other services (air, water and vacuum) and Calor Gas. The up-front area of the shop was limited to a newspaper display unit
SHOP: The Nisa Local branded blue fascia also includes the location-specific message: Portsbridge Nisa. The 2,200sq ft store has a quirky shape (not obvious from the outside) and irregular category layout but it works. The interior in grey and orange imagery and dark shelving, also work very well the darker units allowing product and pos to stand out quite sharply.
The food-to-go area is well situated and the centre attraction is the Costa Express unit. Bake-off products, sandwiches and soft drinks are all available and sales could well be helped by some form of promotion a hot coffee or meal deal, for example.
Good to see the ATM is free to use and situated inside the store.
The produce sections were very good all the stock looked fresh and there was a competitively priced, wide selection. While looking at the produce (nicely presented in wicker type baskets) an elderly gentleman came and stood beside me. "This is better than Tesco," he said.
The off-licence area is excellent too a number of wines were on offer (half price, £4.99 and £5.99) and there were a number of case deals on beers, lagers and cider.
The grocery sections were all well presented and all the gondola ends carried good displays of the current Nisa ’wow’ deals. Heritage brand products are stocked in most sections throughout the store.
The notice board has permanent signs encouraging customers to engage with the business on Facebook and Twitter.
The customer toilet is excellent (why is this so rare to find?) clean, well-presented and with a display of fresh flowers. Only the toilet seat needs attention (replacing!) and then it’s a possible winner of ’Best Forecourt Loo 2015’ competition.
PROGNOSIS: A £1m investment and the combination of the Garner Group, Jet and Nisa has resulted in a prize-winning unit; as previously mentioned, the site was the 2014 Forecourt Trader of the Year winner.
DIAGNOSIS: The focus now is to maintain progress and drive the business ever forward.
PRESCRIPTION: The challenge for Portsbridge Nisa is to maintain forecourt standards and a competitive price for fuel. A communication and promotion programme is required to improve the sales of red diesel. The addition of barbecue fuels and requisites could help shop-front sales.
The forecourt pavement boards in addition to the multi-media screens could be used to promote a loyalty scheme for the jet wash, meal deals and hot coffee.
It’s a great store but very much the same as many convenient stores and now, after a year of trading, should look to developing a distinctive point of difference.
These are some of the areas that should be developed; meal solutions, hot drinks, a selection of local products (artisan bread would be a great start), a community link with the Highbury Primary School and Highbury College.
Press coverage of the success of Portsbridge Nisa indicates that they circulate a number of the Nisa promotion leaflets to the households in the catchment of the store; some 3,500 homes each three weeks. Following the introduction of hot coffee, meal deals and local artisan supplies, a personalised leaflet could be inserted into the Nisa leaflet for circulation. The business could also try to engage further with its customers on social media.
Their current number of followers on both Facebook and Twitter is rather low, and more regular postings would probably help.
Overall, a great store that I am sure will continue to prosper.