Manny Hussain has spent 35 years working in the independent retail sector.
During that time, he has managed three stores, most recently a shop in Newarthill, Lanarkshire. He took that over five years ago and has invested £500,000 into it, enabling him to expand it from 600 sq ft to 3,000 sq ft. He was aided and abetted by Spar Scotland retail and distribution arm CJ Lang.
Hussain says his switch to Spar 10 years ago was the best thing he ever did. “I went to a conference and one speaker said, ‘if you’re not a member of a symbol group, you can say goodbye to your business’. That made me think.”
The retailer has virtually doubled its sales since the refurbishment, leaping from weekly figures of £21,000 in autumn 2003 to an average of £44,000 today.
Much of that growth has been driven by chilled foods, says Hussain, sales of which have climbed by an average of
50-60% per year. Fresh food and chilled drinks also play their part, as do sales of newspapers and weekly magazines, he says.
Recent store innovations include a National Lottery terminal, installed in November, and road tax sales from his post office counter. “We’re looking to include currency conversions in-house,” he adds.
Constant development helped the store win the 2004 Robert Wiseman Dairies Neighbourhood Shop of the Year award.
But Hussain is adamant that rigorous analysis of EPoS data, which he says he only began doing a year ago, has also helped. “I would recommend every retailer monitors results to see what they’re selling and what they’re not selling. Since I’ve been doing this, business has grown tremendously.
“Every couple of months I go through data section by section. I’ve had the scanning system for as long as I’ve had