Forecourt Trader

Top tips

01 April, 2007
Shop talk with Tracy West
Page 58 
Every year the Easter egg market gets more and more competitive and, unfortunately for independent retailers, this year is no different. Scouting around my local superstores, I was amazed at the scope of some of the 'bogofs' and cut-price offers.
Sainsbury, for example, has Maltesers, Milky Bar and Smarties £1.39 eggs on buy-one-get-one-free. In adult eggs it has Aero premium at £4.98 or 'two for £8'. But that's not all. The little devils have 25% off Cadbury Mini Egg tubes and off Creme Egg multipacks. And don't get me started on Lindt Golden Bunnies - I thought they were meant to be a premium gift line but the superstores have them piled high and are selling cheap at £3.29 each or 'two for £6'. All good news for the consumer, but bad news for the indie trying to compete.My biggest shock, however, came from a recent visit to Boots. Now I thought Boots was a chemist or perhaps a healthcare store - but you wouldn't think so if you ventured into an outlet at the moment as its shelves are filled with chocolate eggs. What's going on? Stick to Nurofen and shampoo I say, and leave the eggs to the food stores.But what can you do? I do know of some indies who have pulled out of Easter altogether while others have focused on real top-end eggs, the ones the superstores don't pile so high and sell so cheap. I suppose it's a case of assessing your consumer profile. Whatever you decide, you have to remember that Easter is the biggest chocolate-giving occasion of the year but having said that, not everyone always wants chocolate. According to Mintel data, Easter is a key gift-giving occasion - the research company interviewed 2,000 adults and 34% of them said they gave presents at Easter. But of course those presents need not be chocolate eggs. They could be flowers, CDs or a nice bottle of wine.It's a tough decision whether to turn your back on eggs or not but a chocolate egg that's not sold by Easter ain't gonna sell unless you drastically cut the price and with it, your margin. What to do? I haven't got the answer but I reckon a lot of independents will be seriously rethinking their Easter offer for next year.Anyway I hope that whatever you've got in the way of eggs sell - and Happy Easter!