Bright Christmas lights, extended trading hours and turning up the heat to combat those winter chills. For retailers the festive period can often come with premium energy bills.
This can be a challenging time for energy managers: with the retail teams focused on serving the thousands of customers flooding through the doors, energy efficiency can often be the last thing on people’s minds.
But it’s not all Bah Humbug
Christmas can also be an opportune time to get a better understanding of energy use. With stores closed to both customers and staff on Christmas day, a good insight into what energy use looks like during non-trading periods can be obtained and used as a benchmark for the rest of the year.
It can also be worthwhile analysing the cost vs sales benefit of extended trading hours. In some stores the last hour of extended trade can be the quietest in respect of sales – but the energy costs and staffing costs are the same. Using energy costs and sales data can help the business make more informed decisions when it comes to reviewing trading times for future years.
Banish the post-Christmas blues
Although we’d love for it to be Christmas all year round, it’s important to ensure the festive period doesn’t extend into the spring. Often lighting, heating and air conditioning timings are changed to suit the extended Christmas trading hours. A reset of the control setting in the Building Management Systems and a reminder note to store staff can help to ensure timings and temperatures are set back to normal as soon as possible.
In stores that suffer from colder climates, extra heating equipment can often be ordered in to get through the worst of the winter. Although necessary, this can often come at big costs both in rental and energy use. Keeping records of where this equipment is ordered and ensuring it’s sent back as soon as the weather returns to normal is a simple way of reducing excessive costs.
Christmas is the most important trading window for retailers and warm, well lit and welcoming stores can be the difference between a good or bad Christmas for a business. At this time of year lots of retailers focus on increasing sales – but coupling this with a focus on reducing costs could lead to a very fruitful festive period indeed!
Jaz Rabadia is Energy Manager at Debenhams and a STEM Ambassador.