Gerhard Jenne looks at the preparations his team has achieved for Christmas and is in both a hopeful and joyous mood. 

It has to be said, I feel a lot better today. Yesterday I felt a bout of the man flu coming over me, when really I should have been joyful and reaching for the fizz to celebrate the end of the Christmas soft launch and the forthcoming race/battle/onslaught/fun (delete as appropriate) of the most important time of the year.

With only a month to go until Christmas, our team is ready for the best sales period of the year. Like all retailers, we hope to make this a bumper one, with sales graphs peaking higher than the Norwegian spruce in Trafalgar Square and profits as plump as a Christmas turkey.

Our team has been working hard to get this ‘Joyful Christmas’ on the way. Look-books have been produced, with pictures of each product and information on ingredients, packaging, and storage, as well as all the new information regarding allergens!

Our production team has done some serious number-crunching, dissecting last year’s till information and adding the new shop’s sales targets to forecast numbers, promising to make this the smoothest Christmas ever.

Our product range is looking fantastic this year too – a feast for the eyes with a centrepiece Christmas cake at the heart of it. This fruit cake wonder has already matured for several months and is as drunk as the red-nosed folks lolling on the steps of nearby St John’s Church. It is adorned around the sides with London landmarks, depicted in gingerbread, and topped with a bounty of sweetmeats: truffles, cookies, candy canes, Christmas stars, and even a keeled-over mini gingerbread man. Perhaps he also looked into the glass too deeply.

Following last year’s glitter-curtained Christmas Bazaar (evil tongues said it looked like a brothel), we played it safe with red and white décor to accompany the ‘Joyful Christmas’ theme. The shops are decked out in white branches, adorned with twinkling white lights, red baubles and two-tone striped candy canes. It all looks very merry indeed.

We made quite a change to our product range this year and moved away from bought-in hollow chocolate figures, simply giving more space for our own homemade baked goodies. This worked at Halloween and we will see if the Christmas figures will likewise benefit.

It certainly made merchandising the shops easier and should make it less bewildering for the customers, too. To make the display as enticing as possible, we paid particular attention to the colour of products and packaging, as well as the different formats, all to create displays rich in texture.

For example, instead of row upon row of the same-format bags, this year’s display sees blocks of mince pies in clear gift boxes (golden brown) sitting next to small bags of candy-coated chocolate berries (reds), next to our stollen baked in Panibois (white/natural wood baking moulds) followed by bags of Winter Selection chocolates (brown/white).

The shelves below might house Christmas puddings (white dishes/red cover), brownie bite bags (brown), boxes of a dozen mince pies (our branded purple boxes) and bags of Kipferl cookies (light brown).

Early signs indicate that sales of bagged products are doing very well. Next week, we will be holding Christmas shopping events in each of our stores. Over a complimentary glass of mulled wine, our customers will not be backward in coming forward and I’m sure we will do better than the aforementioned “compliment” – I drink to that! Have a joyful Christmas!