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Happy days in Hull as shoppers flock to new store

Four months after opening a store in a new city in the middle of the global pandemic, a retailer is celebrating super sales figures and excellent customer satisfaction.

Dharsan Premkumar launched his Nisa Local store in Hull at the end of March, at the height of the Covid crisis and admits he was anxious the move might prove catastrophic.

Shoppers happy with overhaul in Hull store front

But instead, sales have grown, shoppers have been delighted with the expanded range and good availability and plans are now afoot to make further improvements to the 1,600 sq.ft store.

Dharsan said: “When we took over the Covid-19 issues were just starting and it was a very nervous time. We expected there to be supply issues and we knew there would be some problems with stock, but we decided to press ahead and get the store ready and trading.”

The shop needed only a small refurbishment to convert it from a green Co-op fascia to Nisa’s latest Evolution store format with a new layout created and merchandising changes made. New shelving was installed and more added along with additional refrigeration and lighting to make the best use of the 1,600 sq.ft. store.

Shoppers happy with overhaul in Hull freezers

An optimal Co-op own label range was introduced across ambient, fresh and frozen and the store now offers a much improved food to go offer with the introduction of a coffee machine and hot food as well as a new chiller at the entrance housing the Co-op Meal Deal and other snacking.

Shoppers happy with overhaul in Hull wines

The store had traded well as a Co-op and Dharsan had initial reservations about shopper perception once it took on the new fascia.

“We were quite wary we might lose sales initially, but they actually increased immediately. When we took over, the panic buying had started and the store was taking more than usual, but in our first few weeks we saw a further increase of more than 10 per cent.”

And as shopping habits have started to return to more normal levels, the new store has continued to enjoy strong sales with the average weekly turnover still higher than forecast.

“When we modelled our baseline, we thought there would be a loss initially of about 10 per cent but instead we’ve had a 10 per cent increase. We’ll now be concentrating on our customers, getting them used to us and the store so they can see we are a great place to shop and even better than what they had before,” said Dharsan.

Shoppers happy with overhaul in Hull chilled beers and wines

One key driver for the future of the store is strong promotions offering competitive prices that keep customer loyalty and with a Sainsbury’s Local just up the road, good value is important.

“I think over time shoppers will see we have a better offer than them, better prices and what’s more, our store is a lot fresher and more modern,” Dharsan added.

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