November 27, 2016 4:28 pm

Specialty food retail is in decline. Butchers down 5%, chicken store sales down a similar percentage*.

Some of the decline is due to improved value added ranges in the supermarkets and some due to the shift from food retail to food catering BUT Christmas and Easter are the two times a year when specialty food retail can make a motza.

We know you’re busy at this time of year so here’s 4 must do (and relatively simple) activities you need to champion with your food retailers over the next few weeks to ensure they make hay while the sun shines.


This single activity drives more conversion to sales than any other activity and should really be an essential term of any specialty food retail lease. We have seen data from CostCo showing up to 60% higher sales conversion from sampling customers compared to non-sampling customers so it’s truly a simple and effective strategy to implement TODAY.

Best products to sample are “add ons” to the core Christmas ingredients such as savoury jams and pickles for the ham and turkey, dipping sauces for the prawns and oysters, dressing and crunchy sprinkles for the salads and mince pies, nuts and chocolates for the lingering family members.

In-Store Food Sampling

Sampling is the no.1 activity for driving food retail conversions.


You would be surprised to see how many times the chicken shop doesn’t have any cranberry sauce for the turkey, or the butcher has run out of red current jelly. Just like Halloween, with the gift shops and discount stores, it’s worth encouraging food retailers to stock up on time sensitive merchandise and to think outside the box – muslin for lemon wedges at the fish shop, cheese knives at the deli and ham bags at the butcher. Look out for the opportunity for your retailers to meet special Christmas needs for your demographic such as Panetonne for Italian customers.

Speciality Christmas Retail Items


Christmas is certainly NOT the time for discounting and price wars on popular items. Why discount what customers are going to buy anyway? Just look at the price of prawns in December if you need convincing on this! The strategy we recommend is to discount on a bigger buy. Customers are entertaining, they are in an abundant mentality state so premium-up the price of the half leg of ham and put the discount on the whole leg. Throw in some recipe cards for Christmas Day leftovers and your retailers have just solved a huge problem for the host or hostess.


In the vain of problem solving, bundling a complete meal for 6,8,10, 12, 20 provides customers a “one stop shop” solution. What would it take for you to create a central sample table and ask all the specialty food retailers & newsagent to help put together ingredients for Christmas lunch – nibbles, entrée, mains, dessert, wines, table decorations and take orders from customers where all they need to do is specify how many people. This idea combats both home delivery competition and the queues that form at each specialty shop during this peak buying period.

Christmas food bundles


If you need any emergency help to get these strategies implemented with your retailers Brain & Poulter has our fabulous team of friendly and knowledgeable consultants on hand to duck into your Centre for a day between now and Christmas and show each of your retailers how take advantage of the season. Book us in NOW before we get booked out.

*Source: Roy Morgan Research