the forum

23 August, 2007

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e-mail:


Q Can I exist without EPoS? My father did very well for 52 years.

A You can exist, but it depends on what sort of existence you want. If you want to do manual stocktakes for the rest of your working life, constantly fret about ordering and out-of-stocks and forfeit the facility to produce useful sales graphs, then EPoS is expendable. Personally I find it an invaluable business tool that repays the time you invest in getting the system up and running.

Paul, Cambs

A The world is full of people trying to sell you gizmos that will invariably break down, need servicing and eventually be superseded by something even more complex and expensive. I don't think you need worry, especially if you work in a shop which has functioned without EPoS for many years.

Craig, Glasgow

Q My new assistant uses his staff discount to buy a can of Heineken every lunchtime which he then proceeds to drink in the store. Is he portraying a good or bad impression to customers?

A With all due respect to Heineken, it's not great to have staff drinking on duty, especially in front of the customers. It just looks slovenly and unprofessional. It's one thing to take the odd gulp during a tasting, but as a lunchtime routine? Not in my shop.

Mary, East Midlands

A Surely this goes against the terms of your licence? If someone buys alcohol in your store, presumably they are bound to consume it off the premises - unless you are one of the few retailers with a licence which says otherwise.

Kelly, Norwich

Q When I'm single-manning the shop and I need a toilet break, is it OK to ask a trusted customer to guard the till in my absence or does this transgress licensing law? I would not expect the customer to deal with any sales.

Jim, Watford


One of my customers tends to lurk in the shop for ages. We have started timing him and the longest "visit" to our premises we have recorded is 36 minutes and eight seconds. Can anyone beat that?

Dave and Mike, south London

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I were to sum up alcohol sales over Christmas 2017 in one word, it would be “gin”. At Nielsen, we define the Christmas period as the 12 weeks to December 30 and in that time gin sales were £199.4 million, which means they increased by £55.4 million compared with Christmas 2016. There’s no sign the bubble is about to burst either. Growth at Christmas 2016 was £22.4 million, so gin has increased its value growth nearly two-and-a-half times in a year. The spirit added more value to
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