Last weekend we celebrated Christmas with our family. For anyone who works in retail, you’ll know the pains that all ‘retail’ families experience around the festive period. My wife, for example, is working both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, therefore travelling anywhere to see family over Christmas becomes very difficult. Hence why we celebrated ‘Christmas Day’ with my family last weekend. So, our body clocks are fast approaching New Year’s Eve…god help us!

Other than having an excuse to over-indulge it was also a chance to have a wander around the town to see what’s going on and I’m glad I did. For I stumbled about a small shop which is doing something unique and very exciting.

Stratton’s Butchers in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, is just like any other village butchers. Except it’s not. Alongside fresh meats and traditional butchery they have dedicated over half the store to fresh hot food to-go. In one corner you have a spit roast with rotating chickens of different flavours (southern and Chinese were on the menu when we were there) to be had with freshly toasted wraps and a choice of salads and sauces – all made to order. To the left as you walk in there is a wood burning stove and skillet, grilling steaks, sausages, burgers (meat and veggie) and halloumi cheese – again fresh to order and served in a choice of brioche bun, wrap or flatbread, with a choice of fresh salad and sauces. By simply extending the offer from fresh raw meats – to cooked meats, this butcher has become a destination in the village for lunchtimes, with queues out the door. 

It’s a fantastic example of blurring of the retail lines – not only extending the buying opportunities for current customers, but also driving new footfall (the lunchtime food to go hunters) to taste the produce – and hopefully come back and buy some of the fresh meats to take home and cook themselves. Furthermore, it was bloody delicious!

For any retailers still struggling to solve the dilemma of rising competition and slowing sales of traditional products, then I would recommend taking a leaf out of Stratton’s books and extend and evolve your current offer to tap into new shopper missions. 

Next week KAM Media will be celebrating Christmas with our own Christmas Party (watch out London) as well as attending the UK Hospitality Christmas Lunch on Thursday – looking forward to getting into the festive spirit with industry friends. Then it will soon be the big day and a chance for some much-needed rest and recuperation for team KAM, before we kick into gear again for what promises to be a very exciting 2019!

Here’s wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Blake