Get gifting to cash in on festive sales

Despite the state of the economy and its negative knock-on effect on business, retailers and suppliers are continuing to talk about the importance of gifting this Christmas.

Majestic chief executive Steve Lewis says that although the days of crazy corporate spending aren’t likely to return just yet, there’s no need to panic.

“We won’t see a resurgence of corporate gifting and entertaining, but people are looking to treat themselves,” he says.

“They’ll buy Champagne using their own money but not the company’s money.”?James Stocker, marketing controller for dark spirits at First Drinks, thinks retailers can provide a service to time-poor consumers during the festive season.

“People are working longer hours so if there’s something that’s already boxed up and attractive, it saves precious time.Christmas is a time of year when people try products they’ve not tried before so it’s a really good time to drive trial.”?He says it’s “very important” to make sure retailers’ entire BWS range is “well-merchandised, boxed up if possible and on shelf”, adding: “It’s a missed opportunity if stock is left in the storage room.” A Diageo spokewoman says: “Avail­ability remains crucial in convenience stores because if shoppers fail to find an item in-store, 53% say they would not buy a replacement. Clear pricing, maximising display and POS are essential. Bringing spirits out from behind the counter is especially important at Christmas when visibility and availability are key.”?Maxxium UK’s commercial operations director Mark Riley says: “The Christmas holiday period represents a great opportunity for retailers to capitalise on the gifting category. We have produced a number of solutions to help customers take advantage through increased visibility and rate of sale.”?Diageo is encouraging retailers to get behind spirits this festive period, saying there is “at least” a £40 million opportunity for sales.

The supplier advises retailers to maximise the spirits category in-store and maintain availability and visibility throughout the season.

A spokeswoman says at Christmas last year the spirits category in the off-trade grew at 6% – ahead of the total BWS market at 5%. Spirits appeared in 2.6 million more baskets last Christmas than Christmas 2008 and 15% of convenience shoppers used their local store more than usual during the Christmas period.