We received 13 copies of Top Gear ten days ago, we have 5 copies left and have just been advised by Bauer they will send us 12 more copies on Monday. This extra 12 copies is five or six copies too many based on the sales history Bauer has for the title for this store.
Mark Fletcher on December 12, 2013 3:55 PM
Mark Fletcher on December 12, 2013 2:21 PM
I don’t see this threatening greeting card sales just as online cards generally have not had a noticeable imp[act on physical card sales. People seem to prefer a greeting they can put on display and keep.
Mark Fletcher on December 12, 2013 5:52 AM
Coles is rolling out what it’s calling next-generation supermarkets in some of its supermarkets that borrows from the Whole Foods model in the US and also from tesco in the UK. They are also a bit like the Thomas Dux model from Woolworths.
The new look is a major change for the business in terms of look, shopping experience and product range.
I got to spend time in the Bondi Westfield store yesterday. This is an evolution of a model at Westfield Southland in Victoria. Inside Retail has more on the roll out and plans.
While these new-look Coles stores provide a new experience for Australian shoppers, The Whole Foods model in the US is streets ahead in my view but I am not an avid Coles shopper. For example, the Coles produce, fish and meat sections at Bondi pale when compared to what I saw at several Whole Foods stores earlier this year.
But I don’t want to detract from the new experience Coles is rolling out in Australia. This new experience is all about getting more of the food and grocery spend here and it should certainly achieve that.
Also part of the new model is fresh investment by Coles in their magazine department. This is placed at the front of the store to drive sales. You notice it as you enter and when you head to the checkout from the market area. It’s very shopper friendly. I think this will drive magazine sales.
This supermarket refresh is not the only work being done by Coles to drive market share. They are working in the local shop/ petrol / convenience spaces from what I understand.
The investment by Coles in a fresh retail offer is another reason newsagents with older shop-fits need to consider their investing in their own businesses. We are competing in a tough climate with aggressive ricks and mortar retailers and equally aggressive online retailers. Not investing in a relevant looking shop encourages shoppers to shop elsewhere.
I encourage newsagents to visit one of the new Coles shops. It needs to be seen live to get the full scope of what they have done and to see their commitment to growth. It’s impressive.
Click on the images to see larger versions.
Mark Fletcher on December 12, 2013 5:46 AM
I found a copy of The Girls of Zoo in our kids magazine section Tuesday and was frustrated that the person reading this had placed it in this kids space and not back where it belongs. It’s not a title to put in front of kids.
I know, there’s not much we can do about this other than regularly checking the magazine department.
But it is frustrating seeing this lazy and ill-considered action by someone who wanted to look at the titillating photos in Zoo. This placement magazines away from their usual location is almost always only done with adult titles. I suspect it’s because they are to embarrassed to take a few steps back to the home location for the magazine.
If only they’d think before they put a title like this in our kids section.
Mark Fletcher on December 12, 2013 5:42 AM
This desktop Zombie Shooting Set sold out for in a week. We have more stock on the way. The success of the zombie themed movies and the mega success of TV shows like The Walking Dead make products like this more appealing.
While not banded to a TV or movie franchise, this pencil and eraser set has sold because of the popularity of the genre. Customers have bought them as stocking stuffers and as Kris Kringle gifts.
We displayed this item as part of a funky gift range. This range attracted traffic for us. We are becoming known in the shopping mall as a destination store for these types of gifts.
On a side note, I like that we’re selling what is essentially a stationery item here.
Mark Fletcher on December 12, 2013 5:39 AM
The Big Rides magbook that came out late last month is a title we are featuring as an ideal Christmas gift for bike riders. Indeed, this title is an excellent example of magazines as a Christmas gift. It’s not something avid bike riders would necessarily purchase for themselves or even be aware of. This is why we are promoting it so that those buying gifts for bike riders can see the title and other good =bike magazines we have in-store.
Mark Fletcher on December 11, 2013 5:39 AM
Newsagents need to make sure they are aware of their long service obligations, especially around the time of buying or selling a newsagency. From what I can see there are different rules in different states. In NSW for example, it can kick in at five years whereas in Victoria obligations kick in at seven years.
I was talking with a newsagent yesterday who has discovered an obligation for two recently departed employees. They did not know they had the obligation. Ignorance does not eliminate the responsibility – this is what the authorities will say. Their accountant had not budgeted for the figure – that’s where the problem started in my view. Long service leave is an obligation that ought to be reflected in the financials of the business when you put it up for sale or at least dealt with in the paperwork reflecting obligations of the purchaser – even if there will be none.
Mark Fletcher on December 11, 2013 5:35 AM
This terrific paper aeroplane kit sold out in a week. We bought it on a nostalgia whim and a week later it’s all gone. You know from the nature of the product that all stock has been purchased on impulse, making the it an even more valuable product. A good impulse item can be empowering for your buying just as a failure of a product can result in you second-guessing purchases.
We report on seasonal items separately from gifts. This item, since it is not Christmas-themed, sits in our gift department. There we have it in a relevant category. This is important since buying is not only about sometimes buying more stock of a successful item. It is also about buying new items that appeal to the same shopper as those buying a very popular item.
Mark Fletcher on December 11, 2013 5:33 AM
Aldi is today offering Donna Hay simple essentials cookbooks for $7.99. I don’t have these in-store so there is no real competition from what I can see. While Aldi has stayed away from magazines, it will be interesting to see if this changes.
Mark Fletcher on December 11, 2013 5:29 AM
The latest issue of frankie, out this week, looks stunning. It’s got a higher price to reflect the bonus items in the title like DIY designer envelopes, greeting cards, wall planner and other freebies designed for frankie magazines.
We’re supporting the latest issue of frankie with good placement in our main magazine aisle and additional support with co-location.
Mark Fletcher on December 11, 2013 5:27 AM
Woman’s Day, NW and OK! for $9.95. Newsagents are sent the original titles at full price and the discount pack as well. These are coming so often now that customers have been and are being educated. The net value of the titles is being eroded and we lose margin dollars as a result. I’m certain that we’re not getting values from these discount packs.
Mark Fletcher on December 10, 2013 7:31 PM
VANA has announced details of a Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal and their Love Your Newsagent campaign:
VANA is proud to be launching this year’s Love Your Newsagent campaign to raise money in support of the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal and providing a raffle draw for a newsagency customer to Win a trip for 2 to Hawaii. Click here to view the campaign promotional video.
Aim of the campaign
The main aim of the campaign is to raise funds for the Good Friday Appeal and we are extremely grateful to you in helping to promote this campaign in your store.
Stage One – All Victorian Newsagents
The first stage will take place from mid-December 2013 until March 2014 where all Victorian Newsagencies will be provided with a Good Friday Appeal collection tin to be placed on your counter for customers to make their donations. You will also be provided with supporting window stickers from the Good Friday Appeal advertising the campaign.
Stage Two – VANA Members Only
The second stage will take place from mid-January 2014 until March 2014. All VANA members will be issued in January with a Love Your Newsagent pack supporting the campaign, consisting of 2 books of raffle tickets (50 tickets in each) to sell during this period, together with full colour posters and window decals promoting the raffle of a trip to Hawaii in support of the Good Friday Appeal. If you wish to become a member of VANA and get involved in Stage Two, please contact the VANA office on 03 8540 7000.
Since I’m not a VANA member I’m not in stage two. I’m also opting out of stage one as my newsagency is running another fund raiser in this time and supporting local charities.
Mark Fletcher on December 10, 2013 6:44 AM
Three days ago we put out a new range of Christmas-themed chocolate. Stars, trees, words – Merry, Xmas, Thanks, Wish – and some other tasty Christmas treats. Space constraints limited our display options but that has not stopped the range selling. Customers are loving the point of difference of this range. We love that!
Now more than ever in newsagency businesses we need to seek our new products and new suppliers to attract new shoppers as well as to offer more variety to existing shoppers.
Something I love to hear from a customer is: I never expected to see that in a newsagency.
Mark Fletcher on December 10, 2013 6:10 AM
The strongest representation of lottery products in Auckland that I have noticed over several trips to the city this year is in convenience store locations. The Fix stores are particularly noticeable with excellent branding for their business as well as for Lotto. While Lotto products are available in the relatively small number of newsagency like businesses, the strongest presence I have noticed is these convenience outlets.
Looking at the Fix shop in the photo it is easy to see why it’s considered a good fit for soft gambling. The business is open 24 hours a day, conveniently located, well named and offering brand name products to appeal. Their tag line is: Whatever you need, whatever you crave. I like this shop a lot – it’s modern, clean and well-stocked. If this business was in Australia it would give City Convenience and 7-Eleven a benchmark to aspire to.
But my interest in Fix goes beyond the business itself. I found myself thinking abut the model from the perspective of tatts and their engagement with 7-Eleven and, more recently, Coles Express. I can see why Tatts wants to be in businesses that are more conveniently located and open longer hours. I expect this push for Tatts products to be available everywhere and at any time will gain momentum.
Newsagents have the opportunity to step into this space, to become convenience businesses. However, it’s a big step. Convenience is more competitive than gifts, than traditional newsagency and even than stationery. It’s not a move I’d make but I can see it appealing to some newsagents. For it to work it would need to be done under a national name with solid financial backing to match the noise of the already strong competitors in the space. Moving to convenience alone, as a solo operator, is not a wise move.
Newsagencies strong and profitable with lottery products would be the type that I think could fit the convenience model.
Mark Fletcher on December 10, 2013 5:58 AM
Mark Fletcher on December 10, 2013 5:56 AM
Network Services demands accountability from newsagents in terms of paying their account on time yet the company refuses to accept accountability for its actions that contribute to the level of indebtedness we achieve. This is an unfair situation. Yes, it has always been thus. However, it’s worse today than ever. Magazine sales are declining yet Network increases titles and therefore drives a level of indebtedness imbalanced to sales.
Mark Fletcher on December 9, 2013 12:27 PM
I was surprised to see the cover of Dutch Courier newspaper today. The black characters jarred with the Christmas theme. I discovered online that that this is Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) a character, some say servant, who accompanies St Nicholas.
In Canada recently a politician came in for criticism for being photographed with someone dressed as Black Pete.
Siji Jabbar writing for The Guardian a year ago offered a valuable contribution on this issue and race more generally in The Netherlands.
We put this issue of Dutch Courier on display as it’s not our job to act as censor or to judge taste. As to whether this depiction is racist? I’d say it is but I’d also acknowledge that this is a traditional character like the black dolls we used to call golliwogs. Traditions take time to change.
Mark Fletcher on December 9, 2013 4:31 AM
I loved the idea of Super Saturday pitched by Westfield to tenants at Westfield Knox City. We completed the form indicating we would offer 25% off all gifts except plush and Christmas. We did this to be an active participant in a whole of centre sale that they would promote through a catalogue and other mediums.
Whereas AMP, the former landlord, would share with us the marketing material well in advance, Westfield kept it to themselves until the morning of.
Saturday morning we discovered Westfield didn’t follow our request, they were promoting us offering 25% off everything in-store – not just gifts as we indicated. The poster, catalogue and other materials were all wrong. Someone from centre management visited after we contacted them but he offered no solution or compensation for the mistake by Westfield.
Also on Saturday, Westfield setup a series of outposts and signs out the front of my shop in such a way that they blocked the usual and natural flow of foot traffic from the car park across to the newsagency. The photo does not show how bad the Westfield layout was. Not only did it block traffic, the door outpost was dangerous with people (myself included) tripping on the base of one of the stands. Again, the person from centre management offered no solution.
One outpost was a kids activity area. The centre management guy said it’s bringing people to centre. I doubt that. It was blocking access to my shop. I need access to make sales and pay the rent. That argument appeared to be lost on this guy.
I asked for the centre manager to contact me, they have not yet done this.
I was angry Saturday when I saw the marketing screw up and the traffic diversion because this was to be Super Saturday, the landlord had let us down and upon showing them this they offered no assistance. This same landlord takes a zero tolerance approach to stepping over the lease line and other matters yet they do not hold themselves to the same standard.
What I would have liked is a free spruiker at the shop to attract people walking past because of their barriers and someone pitching the actual offer we had and not the mistake on their posters and in their catalogue.
If they read this blog post they will most likely complain to me and step up ‘compliance’ visits to the store. It’s happened with landlords before. You screw up and they attack, you complain about their screw up and they attack. This is life in a shopping centre.
I decided to not blog about this Saturday or Sunday as I was too angry. The post I wrote in my head was full of venom. While am still angry this morning, the passing of time has dulled the anger somewhat.
Saturday was okay for us, not what we expected, but okay. It would have been much better had Westfield not screwed up.
Westfield needs to look carefully at what it does in its centres at busy times like Christmas. While they run feel good promotions, they often don’t result in shoppers visiting shops. They fill mall areas with outposts from short term tenants often not represented in the centre and who pull focus from their long term tenants who pay the bulk of the rent. They make mistakes on promotions and don’t fix them. They rarely work with you on programs that will work for your business.
Mark Fletcher on December 9, 2013 4:11 AM
Pacific Magazines and New Life Media supported Movember in a unique way as I read in Mediaweek:
Australian Men’s Health has been decreed the winner of the inaugural Movember modown magazine challenge, following a unique month-long face-off between Pacific Magazines titleMen’s Health and NewsLifeMedia’s GQ Australia.
Throughout November, in support of Movember, both magazines used the hashtags #magsmoveme, #modown and #movember to drive their modown campaigns via social media, PR and online. Readers were encouraged to back their favourite magazine by joining in and growing a mo’, or donating money directly to the cause of men’s health.
Both teams were judged on the reach and engagement of their campaigns, Magazine Publishers of Australia (MPA) Executive Director Robin Parkes said.
“In the end, Australian Men’s Health was judged by the team at MoHQ to have raised an inch more awareness for men’s health than their counterparts at GQ, but by the barest of margins. All credit to both magazine teams for taking part in such a worthy challenge,” Parkes said.
This is good to see because Movember is a fund and awareness raising month that’s supported on some newsagents. Maybe next year newsagents and publishers could work more closely together on the opportunity.
Mark Fletcher on December 9, 2013 4:07 AM
While Taylor Swift is the first solo performer to fill large arenas in Australia in twenty years, she can’t sell magazines in the volume of other solo artists. While we’re running the poster book featuring Taylor, it’s not selling. Maybe she needs to start misbehaving.
Mark Fletcher on December 8, 2013 6:16 AM
There are two types of shoppers newsagents could appeal to in the next few weeks with display areas and or services target at their very specific needs:
- Time poor shoppers. Create a FAST CHRISTMAS SHOPPING area where people can find a card, wrap and gift in shorter time. You could do this with a separate area in-store or you could do it with a shopper assistance on standby ready with suggestions and armed with knowledge of where everything is in store. Personally, I like the shopper assistant idea. This would be someone who can also process the purchase once selection has been made – by jumping and line.
- Last minute shoppers. In the week before Christmas find space to pitch IDEAL LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFTS. In some cases these need to be major gifts while in others stocking-stuffers will be what people are looking for. These items don’t need to be discounted – last minute shoppers tend to care less about price.
In both cases I’d suggest you promote the service in advance of launch. Make sure the offer can be seen from outside the business. Ensure your team members are trained on how to make these work.
By focussing on the needs of groups of unique shoppers we can drive sales and attract more shoppers.
Mark Fletcher on December 8, 2013 6:11 AM
Whether your newsagency is open Boxing Day or the day after, immediately after Christmas is an opportune time to quit dead stock – any stock that has not sold in six months or more. In fact, I’d class stock as dead if it has not moved in three months.
So, use your computer system to list your slow or not moving stock, decide on your rock bottom price, think about how your will display this and design appropriate SALE PRICE tickets to promote the discount.
If you’re in a shopping centre you will probably need to run a lower price than if you are in a high street situation. My experience over the years is that most retailers in a shopping centre will drop prices considerably in their Boxing Day Sales.
In considering the stock you will cut, target two or three items for cost or below pricing. make these your hero products. They need to be genuinely sought after products. It could be even that you buy in especially. However, the real value for any retailer of a post-Christmas sale is to clean out the dead wood and make space for new product.
Mark Fletcher on December 8, 2013 6:09 AM
The latest issue of Girlfriend is selling well for us, offering an example of a bagged magazine done well and riving sales. The packaging is the key – the promotion of freebies as well as $80,000 in prizes. They package looks like bonus value rather than what many others do in bagging old issues with a current issue. This bagged issue of Girlfriend should sell out for us.
Mark Fletcher on December 8, 2013 6:03 AM
The free puzzle book promotion launched yesterday with the Herald Sun was popular, we had plenty of customers asking about their copy. In a good change, our supplying newsagent provided stock. Key to the promotion is the good front page like on the Sunday Herald Sun today. While I would have preferred school holiday timing, I’m happy with this promotion. A side benefit is that it can reintroduce puzzles to people and newsagents are the go-to retailers for these when they want their next fix.
Mark Fletcher on December 7, 2013 6:15 AM
The OzLotto $50 million jackpot and Powerball $30 million jackpot will generate good additional traffic for newsagency businesses with lottery products this week. One challenge will be to leverage the additional lottery traffic for more than the lottery sale. Another challenge will be to ensure that the additional lottery traffic does not get in the way of what should be an excellent week for cards, gifts and other products in the countdown to Christmas.
I don’t have lottery products in my businesses and am not as affected by these jackpots. Weighing up the positive and the negative I’m happy to not have my plans for my business disrupted by such a considerable event as a major jackpot. That said, I know newsagents who love the jackpots and who make good use of the opportunity.