Blakemore retail

Source: AF Blakemore

The HFSS testing formed part of a wider promotional review it has been carrying out over the past year

AF Blakemore is set to move HFSS promotions to the main aisles of its company-owned stores in a bid to avoid areas restricted by upcoming location rules.

The Spar wholesaler told The Grocer it had been undergoing the HFSS store trials over the past 12 months so it could consider how both the location and promotional restrictions would impact sales.

Its chosen strategy, called ‘a single promotional run’, will see all products that are on promotion run “side by side” on main aisle units, whether they are HFSS-compliant or not. Main gondola end features can then be used for HFSS-compliant stock, it said. 

It means stores within its company-owned estate, known as Blakemore Retail, that are impacted by the location restrictions can still promote HFSS goods via main aisle units and be compatible with the law, rather than at restricted areas such as checkouts, aisle ends, and store entrances.

This could include volume promotions, such as three for £10 or bogof, now these restrictions have been delayed until October next year. It could also offer discount promotions, such as 50% off or save £1, as well as special offers like meal deals and dine for two, as these do not form part of the policy. 

The wholesaler said the trials delivered a “positive sales result” and “in-store shopping experience”. It added that while it begins implementing the store changes across the affected company-owned stores, it will pass on its learnings to the independents it supplies too.

The HFSS testing formed part of a wider promotional review it had been carrying out over the past year. The aim was to ensure it was delivering incremental volume to stores while optimising promotional margin for its independent retailers. AF Blakemore then added an HFSS overlay to understand its implications, it explained. 

“We have a clear strategy relating to the price, promotional mechanic and spacing in store that is now forming the backbone of our strategic plans,” AF Blakemore group marketing director Sarah Ellis told The Grocer. “We tested it in 20 Blakemore Retail stores with the aim of finding out how we could maximise trading profit, lessen promotional frequency, and create more effective promotional strategies with reduced complexity.

”The real benefit from this project is clear and actionable insight, which allows us to achieve an immediate tangible profit improvement, a promotional calendar which is simplified and easier to manage and improved understanding of pricing and promotional strategies in all your categories.”

Speaking at the Blakemore Trade Partners Spar Retail Show in Telford last month, Ellis said the work spent on its latest promotional strategy had the potential to deliver an extra 1% promotional margin for retailers’ sales.