Much of Scotland was hit by an early season heat wave. What was the in-store effect?
LAST month’s heatwave boosted demand for summer food and drink and offered a ray of sunshine to Scotland’s convenience retailers – particularly those selling ice cream and slush puppies.
The start of the month brought welcome warm and sunny weather, especially in the west. A clash of two weather systems meant blue skies and soaring temperatures for much of the country that continued in some areas for over a week.
Temperatures were frequently in the 20s, with Glasgow one of the hottest parts of the UK. According to the Met Office, a high of 27.7C was reached at Plockton in the Highlands on 10 June.
With the good weather forecast well in advance, many retailers prepared by ordering extra stock of soft drinks and water, and by introducing ice-cream and slush machines.
In the Ayrshire seaside town of Saltcoats, Premier retailer Jagtar Lalli said the sunshine had been great for business, bringing a noticeable uptick in sales.
“It’s been good. We could do with weather like this all year round,” he said.
“We got a slush puppy machine in to make the most of it. It’s self-service, so the customers can do it rather than it taking up staff time. There have been one or two accidents, but generally it’s been a success.”
Omar Nasir said he installed slush machines in all three of his Motherwell c-stores to capitalize on the weather and sold out of £2,000 worth of stock in a matter of weeks.
“I also teamed up with Graham’s Dairies, who brought an ice-cream van to the shop giving out free ice cream to all the customers,” he said. “It was all over Facebook and the local paper, so good advertisement for the shop and people were coming from far away to get free ice cream.
“Soft drink sales were good and water was flying out the door. Sometimes water was difficult to get, but I managed to shop around and find a few places where it was still in stock.”
And the good weather wasn’t just limited to the west coast. In Inverurie, in Aberdeenshire, Scott Graham, owner of McLeish, said the sunshine had contributed to a 15-20% sales boost over the period.
“That was helped by the introduction of our ice cream machine and about £200 – £300 of ice cream per week, and the same on the new slush machine,” he said.
“Supply was OK. The boys were definitely busy, the wagons were full, soft drinks went through the roof.
“But we ordered in bulk. We tend to build up on soft drinks anyway.
“With water, where normally you’d be ordering four or five cases per delivery it was 20 cases. But we knew the weather looked likely to be good so we said let’s plan ahead for it.
“We were struggling a wee bit because there was so much going on. You could tell some jobs weren’t getting done because they were just busy, and busy with ice cream.
“So some things were falling behind, but you don’t mind paying for extra staff if you need them. All you do is you bring in another person to help catch up.”
• Have you seen a sesaonal boost either because of the weather or the TV sport? Call John McNee, 0141 567 6032.