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We got chills, they’re multiplying

A much-needed range review of chilled goods at a central Leeds convenience store has seen sales rocket in the first month of the year.

Fresh and chilled sales at the Gateway Express store have now gone from “poor” to the second best-selling category in the shop, just a small percentage behind cigarettes, with total sales doubling in a matter of weeks.

The store, which was taken over in October 2018 by Nikul Patel and currently has an independent fascia, is sited in the middle of a city centre apartment complex and close to student accommodation.

When he started trading, there were just a few bays of chillers selling a meagre offering of milk, cheese and yogurt.

But Nikul, who also runs a Nisa symbol store in Rochdal, believed the store location demanded a far enhanced chilled range and so he called in the support of Nisa’s Fresh Food Development team to help him.

He said: “When we took over the store at the end of October there was hardly any chilled and I knew there was a market for it.

“I gave a brief overview to my FFDM, explaining what we knew about the store and customer base and left him to get the chill range sorted. 

“The plan was to take it slow and build up the range, so I was a bit concerned when I saw he’d submitted a 250 plus case chilled order. 

“It was a bit of a slow start for the first few weeks but the response from customers was so positive and their demand for fresh was high with a lot of suggestions coming from them on additional ranges.”

Shortly before Christmas the range was further reviewed with a plan created for the new year and extra lines added including more specialised goods such as vegetarian products and dairy free milks.

Nikul said: “We filled the chillers up to the plan in the first week of January and chilled has soared back up and is now overtaking beers and wines and is currently the second highest sales category for us, just behind cigarettes.”

Kevin Polley, an FFDM at Nisa for more than 10 years, said: “It was clear to see there was so much opportunity for a far better range of chilled in Nikul’s store and because of the customer base it was important to have good quality products including those from growing categories – such as vegan and dairy free.

“By adding in some extra shelves to the existing chiller and installing a few new chillers, the store now has the capacity to offer a fantastic range that will really drive footfall and sales in the store as a whole.”