Jonathan James store

Source: James Convenience Retail

Each store now holds a minimum of 50 PMP lines

James Convenience Retail is enjoying a surge in snacks, sweets and soft drinks sales, driven by a rollout of price-marked packs.

The high-profile independent retailer said it began trialling a broader range of PMPs across its estate last year in a bid to provide a “better perception of value to our customers”.

Operating 44 stores under Bestway-owned fascias Costcutter and Select Convenience, as well as former Conviviality brand GT News, owner Jonathan James said shoppers were “responding positively” to the competitive pricing as they continued to grapple with the cost of living crisis.

With each store now holding a minimum of 50 PMP lines, the initiative has so far pushed crisps and snacks sales up by 30%, while confectionery sales have risen by 16%. Soft drinks have also enjoyed a 12% uptick in sales.

“We’re extremely aware of the effect that the cost of living crisis is having on our customers,” James told The Grocer. “Customers want to see value and PMPs get that message across because people trust it.

“It is also helping us maximise our footfall now that it has returned to the city centres and bus stations post-pandemic, which is where many of our stores are located.”

The PMP strategy comes as the business’ latest accounts at Companies House were filed last week, showing a 2.8% rise in sales to £36m for the year ending 26 March 2023. Gross profit had also increased by 9% to £7.3m.

”The increase in sales due the reducing impact of the coronavirus pandemic with increased footfall through transport hubs and town/shopping centres stores as customer confidence returns,” the accounts said.

“The increase gross profit margin is due to a shift in sales mix, with a larger proportion of turnover coming through the transport sites, which typically sell product with a higher gross profit.”

The accounts also revealed several store conversions to the Costcutter brand was also boosting turnover.

“Working closely with our wholesale partner, Bestway Wholesale Limited and its subsidiaries, the group have been able to refurbish and refit several of its convenience stores to the Costcutter brand,” the accounts added. “The result of which has significantly increased turnover in these locations through an improved range of product available and a recognised brand for our customer base.”

It has converted eight stores to Costcutter since March 2023.