Let’s talk chocolate

When it comes to predicting chocolate confectionery trends for 2014, who better to ask than Scottish convenience retailers.

Confectionery retailing experts
Confectionery retailing experts, from left to right: Mohammed Asif, owner of Spar Forfar; Billy Kay, owner of Spar Greenock; and Jim Paterson, manager at Nisa Linwood, in Renfrewshire.

WITH chocolate confectionery, the possibilities for consumers are almost endless. Singles, tablets, bags, white, milk, dark, value, branded – all available to tempt shoppers looking to make a sweet purchase.

With so much for shoppers to choose from how do store operators make the most of the category? The answers could be just as varied as the wide range of chocolate confectionery available.
Scottish Grocer decided to ask some of the country’s best confectionery-retailing convenience retailers.
They told us a number of factors come into play – from the demographics of a shop’s catchment area, location of confectionery in store and price, to the availability of new products, POS materials and multi-buy deals.

Price-marked multipacks
The real deal: Price-marked multipacks of chocolate singles are a big hit with cash-strapped consumers looking for value.

One of the most common points was the increase in sales of price-marked packs, multi-buys and round-pound prices.
Billy Kay, owner of Spar South Street in Greenock, said: “People aren’t buying single items, they’re focused on deals.
“Multipacks are selling very well. In the long run the margin is lower on multipack deals but overall cash sales are up because we’re selling more of them.
“With price-marked packs customers have got confidence in what you’re selling because they know exactly what the price is. Plus when they’re going round the shop they can count it up in their heads. It’s easier for them to control their money that way.
“With brands it’s hard to say what’s selling well, because nobody is brand loyal just now.”
It’s a similar story for Jim Paterson, manager at Nisa Linwood, who said multipacks, price-marked packs and multi-buys in chocolate confectionery are all selling well in store. For him well-known brands remain very important, but consumers are, he finds, trying out new things, exploring a wider range of products within that set of recognisable brands.
He said: “Mars Bars, Snickers and Twix have been the top sellers for us.”
“Regular Dairy Milk doesn’t sell as well as it used to, but I think the reason for that is that the brand has a bigger variety available so people are trying something a bit different. Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations bar is a good example.
“Consumers are dabbling in a wee bit of everything when it comes to new products.”
In Spar Forfar, which won the Scottish Grocer Confectionery Retailer of the Year Award in 2013, meal deals that include chocolate bars as one of the components are influencing sales.
Owner Mohammed Asif, said: “The thing that is doing really well for us just now is including chocolate countlines in meal deals. We’ve always promoted them and put in what people like, things like Mars Bars and KitKats. Anything that you put into the meal deal sells easily. It’s at good way to attract consumers and pushes sales of countlines up.
“Due to our location we get a lot of passing trade which is often a lot of workers. We’ve found that drivers like to have something sweet in the van or the car, so bags of chocolate have high sales for us.
“The key to confectionery sales is down to the location of the display in the store and how visible it is.
“We’ve seen a big trend now for bargain packs, multipacks that are price-marked at £1.
“We also do single countlines at three for £1, and that has a big take-off. Any time the offer is on people tend to buy more.
“For us, branded names, especially Maltesers, are always higher on sales.”