Musselburgh’s Day-Today Wallyford Supermarket had been open for a little more than 18 months when it was visited by the judges in the Scottish Grocer Awards Best Soft Drinks Outlet of the Year category, an award sponsored by Coca-Cola Enterprises. In some ways it seemed even newer, the large bright store still looked excellent. On the other hand, in some ways it seemed as if it had been there longer, it was obviously doing very good business, especially in soft drinks, and it had clearly generated significant consumer loyalty.
Owner Mohammed Aslam wasn’t the only one who considered operating a convenience store on the site of a former pub in Salters Road in the Wallyford area of the East Lothian town.
“I think others thought there weren’t enough houses or too many other stores. I thought it could work. When we opened in May 2013 we did £30,000 in the first week. Now it’s above £70,000 and still growing. There are more houses now and more are being built, we plan to extend the store and we think we can reach £100,000.”
Mohammed recognises the high turnover is closely linked to the store’s very competitive pricing strategy. But that isn’t the whole story. The shop has very high standards.
Typically there will be five staff members on a shift, including three on the shop floor – all uniformed and all trained to ensure excellent ranging, replenishment, merchandising and facing up. And the business is very closely involved with the local community through its support of the gala day, youth programmes, the local school and golf club and though its own open days.
But Day-Today Wallyford Supermarket – not short of competition, from other c-stores, discounters and a nearby Asda – is certainly keenly priced. Soft drinks is one of its most important categories, and it serves as a model for other categories in the store too. The business buys promotional stock heavily. At one time that would mean seriously shopping around but these days he thinks Day-Today’s wholesaler United is rarely beaten on promotional prices.
With substantial storage space, including the former pub cellar at the Wallyford store, the business can and does extend promotions well beyond stated finishing dates.
And as well as all the current Day-Today promotional leaflet offers the store will also have 10 or more manager’s specials many of which will be soft drinks.
Soft drinks frequently feature on the main promotional aisle-end display, close to the front entrance. The main chilled soft drinks fixture takes up a major section of the first aisle and sits between food to go and chilled food.
Mohammed favours open-deck chillers. He’s certainly thought about cabinets with doors and has discussed them with friends in the industry. But in the final analysis his reason for staying open-deck is simple.
“It’s nicer for the customer,” he said.
The store stays pretty close to Day-Today’s supplied planograms but will tweak them to reflect local sales and to accommodate customer requests. Both the chilled fixture and the ambient display area are exceptionally well-merchandised.
Large PET packs and can multipacks of soft drinks, especially those at promotional prices, are very popular and feature in stacks and displays in secondary sites away from the main fixtures.
Looking to the future the soft drinks award-winning retailer plans more of the same.
“We want to extend the store and chilled soft drinks will take up all of the wall of the first aisle,” he said.