A tale of two cities

P&G recently facilitated two special retailer forums hosted by SLR and backed by SGF with the first event in Edinburgh during the day and the second that evening in Glasgow, and there was plenty to discuss during both sessions.

There’s no better way to find out what’s going on in the ever-changing world of Scottish local retailing than simply getting it from the horse’s mouth – which is why SLR has always made regular face to face contact with as many retailers as possible a priority over the years. That’s also why the team from SLR found themselves hot-footing it between Scotland’s two biggest cities recently to attend a couple of very special retailer forums made possible by P&G and backed by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF).

The first event was held in the afternoon on the east coast at the Hilton Hotel at Edinburgh Airport while the second took place later that day on the west coast at the plush 29 venue on Royal Exchange Square in Glasgow. Both events were chaired by SGF Chief Executive John Drummond and facilitated by SLR Editor Antony Begley. Representing P&G were Paul Lettice, Head of Trade Communications and Nick Beresford, Sales Director for Convenience Discounters.

The two forums saw retailers arrive from all over Scotland and from a wide variety of store types and sizes and a typically robust and forthright discussion ensued.
While the event was made possible by P&G, the topics under discussion were varied and wide-ranging, covering everything that retailers consider important today: from the roll of price marked packs and smaller format pack sizes to VAT, staff retention and NPD.

The purpose of the event, from P&G’s and SGF’s perspective, was simply to hear first hand the issues facing Scotland’s local retailing sector – and credit to both bodies for doing so.
Far from using the event as a sales opportunity, P&G simply got involved in stimulating two fascinating debates with many of the same topics arising at both sessions.
From experience, much of what is learned at these roundtable sessions actually does make a difference how P&G operates. It’s retailer forums like these that helped convince P&G that it needed to make smaller pack sizes available for the convenience channel, for instance.

As for SGF, the event offered another great opportunity to take the pulse of the small shop sector, something that will be invaluable in informing its future lobbying activities.
Paul Lettice commented: “P&G takes the local retailing market in Scotland very seriously indeed and we view forums like this as vital to our learning process.
“There is simply no substitute for getting a bunch of retailers around a table and hearing what they’re excited about, what they’re worried about and what they’re busy with right now.
“Of course the chance to do so twice in the same day was just fantastic and I’d once more like to thank all of the retailers who made the effort to come long. I hope they found as rewarding and enjoyable as myself and Nick did.”

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