Mike Holling, president, National Association of Master Bakers

14 September, 2007
Page 8 
Now summer's over, it's time to gear up for Christmas - and let's hope there's no repeat of the extreme weather that made this year's summer fall flat.
Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday this year, which always carries complications. Do you trade on Sunday, and if so, what hours? Or will your customers wait until the last possible moment to buy?Christmas is still one of the best opportunities for bakers to show off their skills, and there's nothing more eye-catching than a window full of colour, with good merchandising.If you've seen a sales decline in the traditional Christmas lines, counter it by increasing sales in novelty lines, such as gingerbread or shortbread shaped biscuits decorated as Santa or snowmen, along with Santa lollipops which, if wrapped, can be displayed on the counter top.The challenge is always to find extra sales in the festive period. Consider adding a festive sandwich to your takeaway offering, or a turkey, cranberry and stuffing slice to your bake-off range. While these lines may have a four-week sales window, it does give you the chance to offer something different. Customers are looking for convenience and the baker has a major role to play here. Look to develop buffet items for festive parties. As I write this, I am sure that supermarkets are putting Christmas lines on the shelves - and worryingly, there are only 18 weeks to the big day.But I'm sure you didn't need reminding of that!



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