HALLOWEEN is big business for retailers, and there’s no question the supermarkets will definitely be doing their best to entice customers to shop their confectionery aisles, but can c-stores compete with the big multiples?
Scottish retailers certainly haven’t been shy about giving it a go, and for those that do go the extra mile at Halloween, the rewards can be felt at the till and beyond.
Mandi Duncan of Barassie Day-Today, Troon, is one retailer who takes Halloween to another level, and she told Scottish Grocer that when it comes to decorating and dressing up, her team is happy to pull out all the stops.
“Halloween is quite big in Troon. Last year we had over 100 kids in the store for Halloween,” she said.
“We all love it. It’s great fun. Now we’ve got another shop we’re hoping to do the same there.”
Having taken on a Day-Today store in Ayr, Mandi will now look to replicate the success of Barassie Day-Today’s Halloween celebrations, although the original store sets a high bar.
To make the most of the occasion in 2016, a Halloween focus formed at the store weeks before October 31, with activity ramping up as the decorations and seasonal sweets were rolled out.
Mandi said this year will probably be the same, but bigger, with the store ticking all the seasonal boxes and then some.
“Obviously we do the shop up for Halloween, we start maybe three weeks before, when we get the Halloween-themed sweets and pumpkins.
“Someone last year very kindly carved three pumpkins with Barassie Day-Today on them.
“Kids dress up and the staff dress up. Last year with Halloween falling on a Monday we had staff dressed up from the Thursday.”
Dressing up for Halloween isn’t just a bit of fun at Barassie Day-Today either, with confectionery prizes on the line for the spookiest shoppers under a certain age.
“Every year we run a Halloween competition for Troon,” said Mandi.
“Kids can come in and get a wee sweet and their picture goes up on the Troon website.”
All of this effort is certainly a bit of extra work, even if it’s fun, but Mandi reckons its exactly the sort of thing c-store retailers should put into action if they wish to push back against the supermarkets.
“You’ve got to play them at their own game,” she said.
“We do ready-made Halloween bags at 50p and people are quite keen on that, especially people who don’t have kids.
“We do the work for them, that’s something the likes of Tesco won’t do. You’ve just got to try a bit harder.”