Costcutter has pledged to fight the major multiples with a package of measures to drive retail growth.
Speaking at the symbol group’s conference in Tenerife, managing director Colin Graves announced plans to recruit 80 more retailers this year. It currently has more than 1,300 retail members, including 54 Murco forecourt stores.
Graves said recruitment plans would concentrate on franchised stores, with a freeze on company-owned outlets. He added it had just sent a mail shot to Londis store owners “reminding them we are still here”.
Graves recognised the c-store market was getting tougher, with millions of pounds of retail sales lost to the multiples in the past few years as a result of acquisitions. He referred to retailers, including Jacksons
Stores and Bells Stores, and said: “I am disappointed that some retailers have taken their pot of gold and sold their stores to the enemy.”
As a consequence of market conditions, he said Costcutter would be working harder than ever to improve store standards. Angela Barber, trading and marketing director, unveiled a massive project to revamp
internal and external store features based on a six-month trial at a store in Dronfield, Derbyshire. The trial drove store sales up by 14% in the first week after the revamp and the roll-out of the design had now begun.
“We are aiming to refresh internals at some stores and change other stores from the ground up,” said Barber. “Internally we are challenging our traditional store layouts with wide, split aisles, central pelmets and gondola-end promotions.”
Barber said the new blueprint for Costcutter stores included large-format graphics conveying a family feel. Externally, store logos would be refreshed by a subtle design tweak.
In addition, Barber said Costcutter’s Right Range, Right Profit customer management merchandising scheme, which has run for 18 months, was reaping dividends for the company. The scheme has just been extended to 25 core petfood lines and 24 frozen food lines, with categories such as wines & spirits and breakfast cereals to follow.
Costcutter is also updating its in-store radio as its contract with Minster Radio expires. It has signed a contract with Teamtalk Broadcast, which starts on July 15. The deal gives retailers access to five channels, including a new station for Northern Ireland.
Symbol group unveils package of measures to drive growthRod Addy