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    Food and drink sales double for MPK Garages store following Nisa switch

    MPK Garages is one of the latest forecourt operators to join Nisa as it drives for a bigger presence in the convenience sector. The benefits are mutual, with the most recent Pop-In Daily refit seeing grocery turnover double, and fuel sales up 5.5 per cent after three weeks.

    Competitive pricing was one of the factors that convinced MPK Garages to switch its 28, mainly Midlands-based, forecourt stores from Morrisons Daily and Londis to Nisa this summer. But far from a “pile it high, sell it cheap” philosophy, the business takes a sophisticated approach in everything from pricing to product choice at its stores, which are in the Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East, Oxfordshire and the south west, all supplied by Essar, Gulf or Texaco.

    The 1,800 sq ft dual-branded Dordon store is the latest in the Pop-In Daily chain to adopt the Nisa signage, in a £400,000 refit at the end of August.

    The outlet is a prime example of how to deliver a value message while maintaining a quality position with its bright white and grey airy interior accented with green and orange touches, and noticeably uncluttered wide aisles.

    The Co-op brand is central, complementing locally supplied products, which typically make up three to seven per cent of each store’s turnover. The brand has enabled the former Londis outlet to extend its chilled offer to 12 metres, with a broader range of ready meals, meal components and snacks at a competitive price.

    Food and drink sales double for MPK Garages store following Nisa switch
    Wayne Harrand

    Since switching, the food and drink range, which includes three doors of frozen, has trebled in size. Joining forces with Nisa has also enabled the 24-hour store to build on its “Everything to keep you going” strapline, making the range more relevant to the growing local community as well as passing motorists, HGV drivers and workers at the nearby industrial estate, says retail director, Wayne Harrand.

    “Now we have an all-encompassing offer so people can buy ingredients to make a meal like spaghetti bolognese or lasagne at home, and that’s the difference,” says Wayne.

    “It’s important as the nearest supermarket is at least three miles away and the store serves four community villages as well as the new housing development going up opposite, which will lead to 1,000 more homes.”

    Also, to encourage destination trips there is an Evri parcel collection and drop off service, a PayZone terminal for bill payment and a craft beer section, as well as a six-door display of chilled alcohol. The store even stocks cake mixes, candles and baking ingredients to lure locals.

    Once in store, the emphasis on affordability increases the chances of bigger basket spend. For example, the electronic shelf edge labelling highlights 50 to 100 “Cheaper than Tesco!” daily deals, as well as spelling out savings made on gondola end “Great Value” flashed promotions.

    The technology also provides scope to introduce responsive live event-driven deals such as big football matches. In a further bid to raise the value bar, the business has introduced the Gander and Too Good to Go app, which clears stock coming to the end of its life.

    For motorists and truck driver clientele wanting a pickme-up, the refit includes a food to go run of Smokin’ Bean coffee, hot Bake & Bite branded snacks and a sandwich chiller featuring Nisa’s meal deal and soft drinks.

    “Because we have a lot of shift workers commuting to the industrial estate, chilled snacking and meal deals needed to be in the front area of the store,” added Wayne.

    “We also needed to have a good selection of confectionery, stocking the top 25 lines for transient traffic, with plenty of chocolate pouches, chewing gum and chewing sweets, as well as 15 different energy drinks.”

    The forecourt, supplied by Essar, also benefits from two tenants on the site – an MOT and repair centre and a local plant and flower shop. It creates a hub for the community, says Wayne, with the refit increasing car spaces from 12 to 20, alongside two bays for trucks.

    “We’re heavily community focused and want to give customers access to as many services as we can, as well as being able to buy everything they need for the day, with everyday essentials and locally supplied treats.”

    The approach seems to be working. The store is used as a food retail outlet in its own right, with around a fifth of customers not purchasing fuel. Figures show that with a 5.5 per cent volume increase in fuel purchases and a doubling of food and drink sales in the three weeks after the refit, those who purchase petrol and diesel are likely to spend more in the shop too.

    “We expect grocery sales will at least triple. We’re off to a good start and expect growth will continue as word gets out how we’ve developed the store.”

    Victoria Lockie, Head of Retail at Nisa, added: “MPK Garages are a fantastic forecourt retailer and have been brilliant to work with since joining Nisa. They have a clear vision for their stores and I’m so proud that Nisa is able to give businesses like MPK the partnership they need to succeed.”

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