Convenience stores urged to 'cash in' on New Year booze sales

02 January 2018

Drinks giant Diageo, the company behind Smirnoff, Guinness, Gordon’s and Bailey’s, is urging convenience store retailers to capitalise on shoppers looking to top up their alcohol purchases in January after the festive season is over.

Nielsen data shows the convenience sector accounted for 40% of off-trade booze sales in January 2017, when 69% of sales were from shoppers spending £10 or less. Almost a quarter (22%) of spirit buyers in the c-store sector said smaller pack formats were the “most important factor” to them when selecting products in-store.

Diageo said it was “crucial” for retailers to stock fractional spirit bottle sizes in the New Year and this would enable them to offer lower price points and help shoppers to “buy into the category after the Christmas period” at a time when they were on a budget.

The drinks company suggested stocking the best-selling spirit brands in 200ml and 350ml bottles, as well as the standard 700ml formats.

Moderation, said Diageo, was set to be a “key focus” for consumers on a “something-for-tonight” shopping mission in January and the company recommended stocking smaller pack sizes of beer and cider and ensuring there was a choice of low- and alcohol-free products.

Claire Kendall, senior customer category manager at Diageo, said: “Smaller, more frequent shopping is more prevalent in January, after the indulgent festive period, teamed with the colder weather. Through our ‘Inspire, Display, Sell’ initiative, we’re keen to help retailers adapt their offering, cater to changing consumer needs, and increase sales as a result”.

Events in the first quarter of the year should also provide a valuable opportunity to increase basket spend. For example, said Kendall, Valentine’s Day was a key event that can drive more sales growth than Halloween and Father’s Day. Research showed that 33% of shoppers would buy alcohol specifically to celebrate Valentine’s Day and spend up to £37 per trip.

Kendall said: “Convenience stores have the perfect opportunity to capitalise on these events by driving impulse purchasing and trip spend with eye-catching displays and cross-category merchandising.”