Booker has ambitious plans for Family Shopper, its fledgling discount convenience fascia. After launching in June 2013, the chain now has nearly 20 stores and Booker is targeting 300 to 400 over the next few years.

To do so it will need to win over retailers like Suresh and Sunita Kanji, owners of a 2,100 sq ft Family Shopper in the Little Hulton area of Manchester. Judging by their sales to date, it shouldn’t be a problem. The pair opened the seventh Family Shopper in May this year and haven’t looked back.

The Kanjis had been running a 700 sq ft unaffiliated store for six years using Bestway for supply, but for the past two years of their tenure had received repeated requests from the council to close the store so it could use the property for something else. “When this land came up for sale on the other side of the road, we jumped on it,” says Sunita.

They bought the land - a corner plot - and started construction work in October last year. Following a £750,000 investment, the store opened its doors seven months later. Sunita says they considered a number of symbol fascias, but “loved” the Family Shopper concept after visiting the first Family Shopper in Wolverhampton.

Before the visit both say they found it hard to imagine a discount concept in a convenience setting, but as soon as they walked out, they were sold. A further visit to another Family Shopper, in Newcastle, sealed the deal.

What’s the difference?

The difference between Booker’s Family Shopper and its more established Premier symbol is the sheer number of promotions available. Booker offers Family Shopper retailers long-term promotions on every day lines, such as impulse, confectionery, crisps, snacks, soft drinks and some alcohol. It also has a four-weekly promotional cycle.

That means the Kanjis’ store, in a neighbourhood location in the middle of an estate, shouts value. Promotions are prominently displayed on posters outside the store. Inside, the first aisle is a promotional aisle, followed by a non-food “Poundland-style” aisle. There’s also a strong grocery, chilled and frozen offer. As much as 82% of the 1,200 food lines and 500 non-food lines are on various types of promotion or on permanent rollbacks.

“That’s what we really liked about the concept - the clear offers so there is no confusion for shoppers,” explains Sunita. “Customers can buy two for £1.50 or two for £1. We’ve got a store where people don’t have to just come in and buy bread and milk.”

The store is open from 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 9pm on Sundays and is “exceptionally busy.” Suresh says three people have to work in the evenings, including one to stock the drinks aisle. It employs 12 staff in total. The store has six deliveries a week, and from takings of £15,000 to £16,000 a week in their former store across the road, they are now taking £23,000 to £25,000 a week, with the average basket spend £5.78.

The Kanjis promote the store via Facebook. As we tour the store, Sunita points out a woman shopping with her friend. She lives two miles away but made the trip after spotting it on the social media website.

Since opening, Sunita says they have not had to change much other than introducing new products. One was Desperados beer - the popularity of which has encouraged Booker to stock it in other Family Shoppers.

Suresh has one regret, though - building a 2,100 sq ft store. “I would have gone bigger,” he admits. “I have already applied for an extension at the back.”

His plans don’t end there. The store has three flats above, which are now all occupied. The spare land next to it, which the Kanjis also own, has planning permission to build seven houses. But Suresh would ideally like to get permission to change one of those houses into a hot food unit to complement the store.

“Retailers have got to move with the times,” adds Sunita. “Shoppers are looking for bargains every time they shop. That’s why Aldi, Lidl and B&M Bargains are doing so well. And there’s no reason why you can’t offer the same in a convenience store.”