Colourful approach Morning Noon & Night went Stateside for ideas on how to liven up its offer and is reaping rich rewards in Dundee. Anne Bruce reports Sales have shot up at Scotland's largest convenience chain's Clepington Road store in Dundee since a major refurbishment last July. The branch was the first of Morning Noon & Night's portfolio of 43 to introduce "instore theatre" following a management fact-finding trip to the US. The team picked up tips on zoning and signage and using strong colours to bring the store to life. And now it is reaping the rewards ­ an initial 20% increase in sales has been maintained long after the workmen who extended and refurbished the store left. In individual sections, the figures are even more impressive. There has been a 35-40% increase in beers, wines and spirits as well as chilled foods, and a 100% increase in fresh produce. Operations director George Pirie says: "We wanted to get rid of the blandness to attract passing trade. The whole store needs to be right. It's all about cleanliness and presentation. It is no good spending £16,000 on new equipment and putting it in a grubby store." Offering the local touch is also key to Morning Noon & Night's proposition. In each of the stores, 5% of the range is sourced from the immediate locality. This is where bigger operators fall down, according to marketing director Stephen Thompson. "We are still localised and adjusted to our area. We know what our customers want and we fit in with local demand. Black pudding is big in Scotland, but English based chains in our area don't stock it," he says. MN&N is a family chain, set up 10 years ago and primarily supplied by Mace through Aberness. But Thompson says that when Morning Noon & Night buys a new store, it retains its existing small scale suppliers as long as they offer a good service, rather than giving the business to Aberness. And additional services are vital to the convenience mix. All the stores are licensed and have a news section. Clepington Road and the majority of the other stores have national lottery terminals and a power card facility. Morning Noon & Night struck gold with ATMs when it helped the Bank of Scotland pilot a machine at its Teyport store. In return, the Bank of Scotland agreed to fit all future Morning Noon & Night stores with an ATM machine on request. This backfired on the bank in the case of Clepington Road. The store cashpoint dispenses a whopping £440,000 a month, putting the Bank of Scotland branch ATM directly across the road to shame. {{SPOTLIGHT }}