Nearly two years ago this Nisa Local store in Peterborough was given a massive overhaul when the team decided to invest in a major expansion project that involved knocking through into the shop next
What did the renovation project involve?
In September 2016 we knocked into the next-door unit and effectively doubled the size of the shop. We refurbished the whole place from top to bottom, and we had a few issues with the building work to contend with, so it took a bit longer than planned.
We decided to do this because the old unit was overtrading for the size of the store and we wanted to increase the range of products because we could see the demand was there.
We have a wide-ranging demographic of customers and we weren’t able to offer a full range to some of these people until we had more space.
What changes did you make?
We really focused on our food-to-go area and offer, so we added freshly prepared sandwiches and extended our take-out range in general. This really helped bring new people into the store.
We pretty much expanded most categories in the store to add more products, and we improved the layout and gave shoppers more space to walk around.
Did you make any changes to your alcohol section when you carried out the refit? We must have doubled the off- licence area and we put in a lot of chillers, so we probably doubled the amount of these too. Sales are good from alcohol.
We increased our real ale range from Nisa, so we now offer a three- for-£5 permanent deal, which seems to go well.
We were able to add a lot of new products. For example, sparkling wine was selling really well before the project so we were able to give customers a lot more choice with the added space.
What shopping pattern do you see from your typical customers?
We have a mixed demographic here so we wanted to be able to cater for a wide range of people and a lot of different shopping missions.
We are very close to an Amazon distribution centre, a big Debenhams warehouse and an Ikea distribution centre, so we see a lot of people who do shift work and they come in any time between 6am and 11pm. We offer food-to-go lunch and food for the evenings now as well, which is good for these customers.
We also have a Post Office in the store, which has been popular.
We have a lot of Polish customers coming in here and we have been adding to our Polish range of beers – things such as Tyskie and Lech. The four-packs of these sell well.
What is your main competition like?
We have an independent store about 450m away and a Premier half a mile away. The nearest multiple retailer
is an Aldi, about a mile away. We all work together quite well as we all have a slightly different offer, but it is competitive.
There isn’t really an opportunity for anyone else to get a look in, so I don’t expect to see any other stores opening here in the future.
What sells well in BWS?
Beer in 10 or 12-packs sells well, particularly if they are on a Nisa promotion, which we will run for as long as we can.
We had some good offers on Prosecco at £5.99 and £6.99, so we stocked up and tried to keep that price point.
In gin, we are trying a lot of premium brands. We have added Sipsmith, Plymouth gin and one or two unique ones.
We’ve had Echo Falls flavoured vodka now for a few months and it’s been popular. People like it when we get new products in early. In fact, fruity flavours are doing really well in a number of categories, notably vodka and cider, and particularly during warmer weather.
Do you have any other mechanics in place to drive sales of alcohol? We have a 1m freezer in the off- licence section that contains ice cream. It’s all part of the big night in theme, so we also place big packets of crisps such as Doritos and other snacks there to help create a destination for these shoppers.
What are your plans for the future?
We have recently added the Heritage range of own-label spirits from Nisa and I am excited to see how they will drive sales. The own-label ranges in general have really gone well over the past year, particularly in wine.
The spirits range covers five varieties and I think they will sell well as the prices are good and the bottles look quite premium. There is a lot of loyalty in spirits to certain brands, but there is a market for own-label.
We want to add some more local beers. We have Oakham Ales just half a mile from here. We won’t be able to do them on the three-for-£5 deal though because that is a Nisa promotion, so I will have to see how sales of these go if I add them to the fixture.