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Nisa Local, Whittlesey


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Nisa Local, Whittlesey

Nisa’s new Store of The Future 2 format has been embraced by one particular family of members, who own and run what will soon number four stores in the Peterborough area.

What’s more, the two brothers, Anish and Jamie Keshwara, have been delighted with Nisa’s changes at one of his stores in Whittlesey: “We used to have two ambient deliveries on pallets that lasted us the week and the shop front was uninviting with vinyl covered and poor lighting. We only had limited promotional bays, no room for a food to go offering, and that’s not forgetting 100s of slow selling lines,” Anish remembers.

The switch to Nisa’s new neighbourhood store format led to some major changes at their Victory Avenue site. “We spent just under £200,000 on the refit and building works. One of the big things was reducing the size of the stock room, which meant that the shop space went up from 1,900 sq.ft. to 2,700 sq.ft. We also benefited from a turnover increase of 22% year-on-year.

“We now get daily deliveries from Nisa so we don’t need to keep as much stock out the back of the store. So now we have extra space and our product availability has gone up,” Anish says. Other improvements are geared around driving impulse sales. Anish and Jamie give the example of moving the front counter away from the entrance, meaning shoppers are more likely to pick up extra items before paying.

The front counter is also now linked to another important new service - a fully-fledged food to go and coffee area serving up freshly prepared baguettes, pizzas and other hot and cold snacks and drinks.

“It means that we don’t need to have lots of staff members manning both sections,” Anish says. “Someone on the till can also move across and quickly serve sandwiches and baguettes. And when people are queuing up to pay for goods, they often pick up a snack. It was also important for us that customers could see the preparation area so they can see the food is freshly made, and the smell alone has been bringing in a lot of trade. We’re now selling over 100 baguettes a day and have a successful hot food and fresh bread programme,” Anish says.

The extra space means that Jamie and Anish have also been able to extend their chilled and frozen food sections, adding new closed door chillers and freezers to ensure products can be displayed more prominently. The change has saved them money on their energy bills, they report. “The store is easier to shop thanks to wider aisles, which also make shopping by mission simpler,” Anish says. “The range has been carefully worked out by identifying the main missions first, then location and category space. Only then is range selected. As part of the design brief Nisa organised market research company him! to undertake some professional market research to identify our primary shopper missions and the type of missions those customers have, and this led the brief in terms of how the new store was zoned,” he adds.

The results have been a hit with the locals. “The customers love what we’ve done here and they tell us that they feel the store is larger and more open than before, so we want to adopt the same format across our portfolio,” Anish says.

With regards to the way his chain works, Anish has firm, progressive ideas. “I think to be a successful retailer you can’t spend all your time stuck behind the counter. You’ve got to get out and look at new opportunities and also look at your store from a shopper’s perspective and see what you can improve. The more processes we can introduce, the less decisions then have to be made in stores,” he says. There are one or two specific examples that have worked very effectively, as he recalls: “Adding self filled ATMs reduced our bank charges, and automated ordering and better cash management have all improved so we don’t have to be in store all the time.”

The high level of organisation that such approaches require is mirrored in Anish and Jamie’s management team’s approach to their work. “We’ve got a really good team of 78 staff that we rely on. Our focus is now on training and upskilling our workforce to deliver the best,” Anish explains.

Looking to the future, he concludes by noting that there are still changes to be made. “It’s been a year since we reopened and we’re about to embark on another set of changes. There are areas that we think with a few simple changes to layout will work better. So that’s the next plan - a refresh to our range and merchandise. We need to make sure we’re selling everything people want, but also shift any things that aren’t selling, and also introduce new lines.”

Store facts and figures

Nisa Local, Whittlesey

Store location: Estate near town centre

Store size: 2,700 sq.ft.

Number of staff: 78 (across chain)

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