The latest data from S4labour reveals that sales were up 3.8% in November, compared to the same month last year. London saw growth of 5.9% year-on-year, whilst the rest of the UK witnessed a slightly more modest increase of 3.2%.
This overall growth was driven by dry-led sites, with sales surging by 9.1%, compared to a 3.3% decline in wet-led sites.
S4labour’s Chief Growth Officer, Richard Hartley, commented: “Despite challenging consumer prices, this upward trend is a positive start to the Christmas period. Hopefully, we should see spending considerably up through to the new year, which will help towards offsetting the new wage costs coming into play in April.”
According to data from S4labour, the 9.8% increase to NLW announced yesterday by the Chancellor will mean an increase of 11.5% to costs for operators when considering the weighted impact of age distribution in the industry.
The new wage of £11.44 will apply to employees over 23s, who make up 70% of the hospitality workforce, as well as the 9% of workers who are 21 to 22 years old.
The statistics also reveal that 14% of industry workers fall into the 18 to 20 bracket, with their new wage rising by 14.8% to £8.60. Under 18s, who make up 7% of the industry’s workforce, will see a 21.2% increase in pay.
Assuming all workers are paid at minimum wage, these increases will bring hourly labour costs up 11.5% for operators.
Alastair Scott, CEO of S4labour, commented: “The headline rate at 9.8% was going to be tough enough to manage, without factoring in the high proportion of young people working in our industry. This makes it an even bigger challenge, just when we thought we might be able to get back onto an even keel.”
Leading rota, people and payroll tool provider S4labour, has shared some tips to help independent convenience and forecourt operators best manage their labour throughout the busy holiday season.
It becomes increasingly difficult to balance the needs of your shoppers and your team as well as thinking about profits and compliance when experiencing these different patterns of trade. So, for independent retailers, it is well worth investing in tools that can help them do the work efficiently, cost-effectively and without stress.
Some of the challenges facing retailers will include requests for time off or additional hours, as well as scheduling according to big events that are likely to see people get together, like summer sporting events, barbecues and local fetes.
Garry Craft, S4labour, Managing Director Convenience Stores, says: “Walking the line of having enough staff whilst not overspending on a labour budget can be difficult.
The first step for successful labour management is to use tools and insights that give visibility of historic sales data and labour spending. Looking at week-by-week and day-by-day labour spending will give more insight into how retailers should be planning rotas, compared to just looking at quarterly totals.”
The rota, people and payroll tool provider also state that having this visibility of labour spend, particularly before it is spent, will avoid unexpected costs for retailers.
Craft continues: “Circulating rotas earlier will help employees visualise shift plans easily, and as a result, any problems are much easier to spot. Synchronising rotas with the holiday calendar allows managers to see staff availability on key dates.
Maintaining effective communication with staff regarding rotas is an important follow-up step. This can be made simple through an app or system that serves as one point of truth. Managers can organise shift patterns and staff can volunteer for open opportunities, which ensures demand is always met and everyone is on the same page.
We appreciate that location will affect holiday planning, as those in tourist locations will be up over the summer, and different stores will trade in different ways. S4labour recommends having tools in place that work around your individual business needs.
There are tools out there that make it easy for owners to manage holidays, create balanced schedules and check rotas against time and attendance clock-in and out times.”