High demand at town’s supermarkets

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Lerwick’s two supermarkets have reported a roaring trade over the festive period.

Tesco “punched above its weight” to record a bumper year with sales 10 per cent up on the same period in 2012.

Over at Holmsgarth the Co-op is enjoying something of a come-back, with the newly re-designed store – together with the Peacocks clothing retailer – proving to be a popular hit.

Tesco manager Paul Clelland declined to comment on exactly how much the South Road store had taken during December. But he said the shop had notched up the highest sales in the UK network of gift cards.

That, said Mr Clelland, reflected the recent hike in incoming workers to the isles.

Information gleaned from Tesco Clubcards has helped keep store operators informed on people’s shopping habits as well.

In the meantime store managers have focused their attention on Tesco’s online presence, which has allowed customers to order goods and pick up at the store.

“We are ahead of our sales forecast and significantly ahead of our budget and we were 10 per cent up on the year,” said Mr Clelland.

“We were the number one super store in the UK for gift card sales, and we think that is driven by the number of workers up here at the moment and also by people being able to send gifts down south.

“What we’ve got better at doing in the store across the last year is improving the links between in-store and online.

“We’re getting significant growth through online purchases. People are coming into the store and if they can’t get what they want in the store they are looking at Tesco Direct and ordering for free delivery to the shop.”

Mr Clelland also paid tribute to his staff who, he said, had worked exceptionally hard over the Christmas and New Year period.

“It’s really quite challenging. From a Tesco point of view it’s quite a small shop, so it consistently punches above its weight.

“We have to work very hard to get the deliveries in and keep the shop floor as replenished as we can, so it’s quite challenging, but this is our sixth Christmas here now so we’ve got a lot of experience in the shop and people know what they are doing.”

Co-op Supermarket LerwickCo-op bosses say sales at the Lerwick store also went beyond sales forecasts.

“Our newly refurbished Lerwick store was very busy at both Christmas and New Year, with sales far exceeding our expectations,” the retailer said.

“We had some good offers over the festive period, which proved very popular, and traditional Christmas and party foods, as well as beers, wines and spirits, all sold well.

“In addition, the new Peacock’s concession, which launched in December at our Holmsgarth Road store, has proven extremely popular with our Lerwick customers.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor is a reporter at The Shetland Times

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