And the winner is... Ash’s Shop, Nisa Local, Fenstanton
Chilled is big business at Ash’s Shop, a Nisa Local store in the village of Fenstanton near Cambridge, accounting for 21.5% of total store sales. Store owner Amit Puntambekar and his team recently oversaw a six-figure refit that extended the chiller area by nine metres – making the total chiller area 17.5m – and added doors to give it a professional finish. During the refit, the store managed to keep 98% availability across its chilled range and the team worked to remove wastage and focus on offering value and premium options.
What impressed me the most was that the initiatives displayed could be applied across the vast majority of independent retailers
The added space to the new 'chiller corridor' meant Amit could tailor the range to fit his growing young professional customer base. One particular focus was introducing a range of dairy-free alternatives and lactose-free products across cheese, milk and yogurt, which has had a 'fantastic' reception from shoppers. He has also addressed areas of the chiller that were doing poorly, such as fresh meat. The refit saw the store increase unit sales – to 1,127 per week, up from 217 a week - as shoppers became more aware of the fresh meat on offer.
Following the refit and the changes made to chilled ranges, the store has seen a £4,500 increase in weekly chilled sales over the 12-month period, up from £3,000 a week to £7,500.
The judges were impressed with the level of focus and innovation shown by Puntambekar. One judge said: "What impressed me the most was that the initiatives displayed could be applied across the vast majority of independent retailers and provide inspiration to others to improve their own businesses".
Another judge said: "There was an impressive focus on ranging, particularly optimising and locating the range in-store effectively".
The judges felt the retailer had a focused strategy to increase chilled sales, with one saying: “It is great to see the growth he has achieved in the last 12 months.”