Symbol strength?

Premier store

As costs keep rising and margins get smaller, many local retailers may feel tempted by the benefits of joining a symbol group or fascia, while those already signed up might feel they could get a better deal elsewhere. SLR examines some of the best options available.

The retail business is tough and it’s only getting tougher. Perennially rising costs and ever fiercer competition mean local retailers need all the support they can get to run a successful, profitable business. One of the most effective ways of giving your business an instant boost is by either joining a fascia or symbol group for the first time, or by switching to a group that better suits your needs.

The lure of becoming part of something bigger is an enticing one and is one of the few decisions that an unaffiliated retailer can make that is all but certain to improve the business.

Access to much greater buying power and all the benefits that come with being part of a larger organisation can be the difference between profit and loss in today’s ultra-competitive market.

Joining a symbol group or fascia doesn’t mean that retailers need to lose their independence – quite the opposite. While the different groups all have different criteria that members must meet in terms of buying commitments and compliance, the one thing they all share is commitment to allowing local retailers to retain their independent status, something that’s non-negotiable for most.

But joining a group offers all the benefits of being part of a nationwide collective of like-minded retailers with access to big buying power and the many invaluable support mechanisms that membership of a symbol group brings.

The number of stores that now belong to one symbol group or another is fast approaching the 50% mark today, and that’s for a reason. One other point worth noting is that very, very few retailers decide to return to being unaffiliated after joining a group. They may subsequently switch symbols, but they don’t tend to go back to being unaffiliated once they’ve had a taste of what’s on offer as part of a bigger group.

Key data

So whether you are considering joining one of these groups for the first time, or are considering moving from one to another, this guide will provide you with the key data you need to make a fully informed decision as to which fascia is right for you.

The great news is that the range of choices available has never been greater. Each partner has its own strengths, but they all offer buying power, a household name above the door and a comprehensive support network covering everything a retailer needs to remain competitive in today’s retail environment.

Choosing a symbol group can seem an intimidating task. It is a big commitment, especially if you are already tied into a contract or faced with joining fees – whether this is in the form of an admin charge, buying shares or paying for signage or delivery. But there is no doubt it can pay huge dividends.

How to decide which symbol group is right for you will ultimately depend on your shoppers and what they want you to offer them. The pros for retailers considering joining or switching symbol groups are numerous and the cons are few.

Sometimes there will be a fee, but it may be worth the cost as often it gives additional industry-specific information that will support any application. This information, when backed by the weight of a symbol brand, can add an influential supporting voice to any finance application.

Retailers should ask themselves whether remaining unaffiliated is detrimental to their potential as a business. Whatever level you decide to go in at, do your research before determining which group is right for you.


Your expert retail partner

Best-One store

With everyday low pricing, monthly consumer promotions to rival the multiples, an award-winning own-label range of over 400 SKU’s and monthly meetings with business development managers, it’s no wonder 445 retailers made the switch to best-one last year.

With 38 stores across Scotland best-one is one of the largest symbol operators in the country giving retailers the scale and expertise to compete with multiple retailers and discounters. And with 362 retailers making the switch to best-one last year, it’s little wonder best-one is becoming the symbol of choice for retailers wishing to take their stores to the next level.

best-one continue to offer one of the best rewards programes in independent retail where compliant best-one members can earn up to 5% rebate on their purchases through My Rewards. This reward can then be used to re-invest in store development including introducing the new premium grey best-one fascia.

Among the many benefits of joining best-one are:

Category development

Bestway Wholesale continually reviews its range and is increasing the size of the chilled range available to retailers, which has high retailer margin. Alongside this, the introduction of a food-to-go proposition will make best-one retail stores all-day destinations serving fresh sandwiches, snacks and coffee-to-go.

best-one also has planograms for all core categories which help to reduce the number of lines on-shelf whilst giving stand-out to those products which will drive sales. Following this guidance will ensure independent retailers are in line with the rest of the market.

Promotional architecture

Members receive five unbeatable WOW Deals and 15 Must Feature promotions every month with case allocations to ensure members have availability throughout the promotional period and individualised store leaflets to drive footfall and loyalty. Shoppers now expect to see promotions that match the multiple retailers and best-one delivers on this with promotions across impulse, chilled and grocery.

Field support

best-one prides itself on its continued support it delivers to members. Each member has a dedicated representative that draws up a joint business plan with members and regularly reviews this on their monthly call. This business plan is based on actual sales data and benchmarked against the store’s potential as defined by its shopper demographic.

New members receive a six-week period of ‘Hypercare’ where they are visited weekly to ensure that the transition to best-one is as smooth as possible and that standards and sales are optimised.

Store development

With a variety of formats available based on shopper profiles and their missions, best-one works with members to deliver the best possible solution for their communities.

From simple food-to-go solutions to full serve-over meal counters and premium coffee stations, best-one can help remodel, refit and revitalise your store.

Central Pick operation gives members longer shelf life on over 1,500 chilled and fresh products, with up to three deliveries per week.

Competitive own label

best-one own label gives retailers the reassurance of award-winning, quality products for a value price, while delivering increased value to shoppers through price marked packs. With over 400 products in the range covering all major categories, sales of best-one own label continue to grow and the range continues to increase to meet shopper needs.

The best-one inspired range also offers a smaller range of premium own label products and is the first premium own-label range available to independent retailers.

For more information, contact our Scottish Customer Contact Centre in Perth on 01738 646 666, your local Batleys depot manager or log onto

Xtra Local

Xtra Local Retail Club

xtra local store

Stand out from the crowd and keep your own fascia while also benefitting from the scale and expertise of one of the country’s largest wholesale-run retail clubs.

In today’s increasingly competitive convenience market, Bestway can offer independent retailers’ solutions to suit their business needs through the Bestway Retail and Bestway Wholesale businesses; be that a Franchise such as Bargain Booze, a Symbol-Group such as best-one, special support for multiple-account customers, or through a retail club.

Xtra Local is the retail club opportunity from Bestway Wholesale, which offers independent retailers’ monthly promotions, competitive pricing and expert advice, whilst allowing flexibility and for retailers to keep their own fascia.

The promotional programme has been tailored for forward thinking retailers who want to entice their convenience store customers with a clear focus on the categories and pack sizes that are driving their business.

The Xtra Local retail club enables retailers to shop from 62 Bestway and Batleys depots within the Bestway Wholesale network, seven of which are in Scotland.

Just some of the benefits of joining Xtra Local include:

  • It makes commercial sense: there is no joining fee and the minimum spend is £1,000 per week excluding tobacco. Xtra Local members also get access to special deals, over and above those offered to unaffiliated retailers shopping with Bestway Wholesale through cash & carry.
  • Promotions: The monthly cycle of consumer ‘Wow’ and ‘Must Feature’ promotions are supported with POS and leaflets for retailers to send to the consumer. These competitive deals allow Xtra Local customers to drive sales and footfall from the promotions whilst still delivering a healthy margin.
  • Own label: Xtra Local retailers have access to the best-one own label range which offers premium, award winning products for value prices on over 400 products across all categories.
  • Availability: Bestway Wholesale has also launched pre-sell on the core range relevant to Xtra Local customers, which ensures availability for retailers as stock is allocated when you order it a month ahead. This ensures you’ll be guaranteed the stock you need at the best possible promotional price – ahead of competitor prices for two weeks (and thus you’ll make more profit within the two week period).
  • Support: Xtra Local provides independent retailers who meet the spend threshold, extra support including monthly visits from sales personnel and best-practise sharing from other retailers.
  • Category management: Representatives from Bestway Wholesale can help Xtra Local members with category advise, store layout advise and merchandising plans.
  • Scotland: The Xtra Local product range is adapted for Scotland with special monthly promotions and a Scottish product range of approximately 400 products.

Get in touch


Grow with Londis

londis store

As winners of the 2018 Symbol Convenience Retailer of the Year at the Grocer Gold Awards, we offer access to the many benefits of being part of the UK’s largest convenience retail group.

With 1,970 members nationally and taking home the crown for Symbol Convenience Retailer 2018 at the Grocer Gold awards, Londis is one of the fastest growing symbol groups in the sector.

Londis is now beginning to unlock ‘Retail Wins’ and the benefits of ‘Joining Forces’ which includes great choice, better prices and improved quality to help retailers drive footfall and make more cash profit.

Following on from the recent brand refresh, the new modern look ensures our stores are fit for the future and continues to roll out with a much greater focus on new footfall driving categories such as Chilled, Food to Go, Meal Solutions and also the latest trends like Protein, Premium Spirits, Health & Habit forming Foods and American Confectionery. It is this focus on areas of growth that help Londis stand out from the competition.

Londis operate a zero-cost model and is a flexible symbol partner that has a fully delivered service and support package to suit all. To help compete in today’s rapidly expanding convenience market Londis support with; award winning ranges, an industry leading fresh offer with over 2,000 lines, including food-to-go, fresh produce, meal deals and a market leading promotional package.

With smart planning, local area knowledge, range optimisation, and the symbol groups top Merchandising, Range, Store Development and Supply Chain Teams we are committed to helping our customers Make More and Save More to support them in growing their business.

The benefits of the Londis offer include:

  • Free membership
  • Competitive cost of goods benefiting from group power
  • Market leading promotions every 4 weeks
  • Free promotion leaflets and FREE store point of sale support
  • Loyalty discounts of up to 4%
  • Award-winning Fresh range with over 2,000 lines.
  • Award-winning own brand ranges Discover the Choice, Farm Fresh, Euro Shopper
  • A best in class online web ordering system (Londis Webshop)
  • Dedicated Merchandising and Store Development Teams
  • Tri-temperature fleet delivering all your ambient, fresh and frozen together
  • Free membership of the ACS

Be part of the UK’s biggest symbol group

Premier store interior

As the UK’s largest symbol group, Premier has delivered double-digit growth for 16 consecutive years by focusing on what matters most to retailers and to shoppers. Isn’t it time you joined the number one group and started benefitting from our exceptional package?

Premier is the UK’s number one symbol group with over 3,350 stores nationwide. The group is committed to delivering more profits for retailers and a better shopping experience for consumers. Premier has delivered double digit growth for sixteen consecutive years.

Premier continues to advertise on TV. Premier is advertised every day which will be seen over 100 million times. The TV advert features Premier’s famous Mega Deal promotions along with retailers to emphasise the local aspect of Premier Store. As well as this, retailers also benefit from a full promotional programme covering all categories of fresh, frozen, grocery and impulse to ensure great value for shoppers to drive footfall into stores. This market leading promotional package, along with own-label and price-mark-packs, really drives the value message to help Premier retailers grow their business.

Premier works hard to ensure that retailers have the best choice of products to suit their individual store. This includes both Euro Shopper, Booker’s entry level exclusive own-brand and Happy Shopper, the mid-tier option. This is complimented by working closely with branded suppliers to ensure the best choice of price marked packs so shoppers can clearly see the great value available.

Backed by Booker, the UK’s leading food & drink wholesaler, Premier retailers can take advantage of delivery at cash & carry prices, as well as having the ease and convenience of shopping at any Booker branch. ‘Spend & Save,’ where retailers can save up to 4% on their non-tobacco purchases, is also popular with Premier members as this delivers real savings and adds to their bottom line. Premier does not operate any membership or joining fees and installs the fascia and imagery free of charge. A wide range of additional services such as recycling, energy savings, free Epos and drop shipment are also available that have been specifically created to add value and keep operating costs low for Premier members.

The group continues to go from strength to strength and its relentless focus in increasing choice, lowering prices and improving service has helped Premier members deliver some fantastic convenience stores.

Family Shopper

Making value count

family shopper store

Offering a unique discount format specifically geared for local retailers, Family Shopper brings together the strength of symbol retailing with the great value available in the discount channel.

Family Shopper is a discount format for independent retailers that brings together the strength of symbol retailing with the great value available in the discount channel. It has been specifically developed to help independent retailers capture the growing sales and profits from the discount sector.

The unique discount format provides retailers with everything that shoppers would expect from a convenience store including chilled, alcohol, grocery and tobacco along with services such as Lotto and Paypoint.

This is then combined with the best of the discounters covering a fantastic range of £1 non-food items such as stationery, kitchen utensils and party accessories, with a broad seasonal offering and a frozen section.

All Family Shopper stores offer a simplified range that removes duplication.

Also merchandising in full trays makes the format easy to operate while minimising back stock and easing cash flow.

Family Shopper retailers can take advantage of ‘Spend & Save’ where retailers can earn up to 5% discount on their non-tobacco purchases, along with delivery at cash & carry prices, ordering on line and having the ease and convenience of shopping at branches. This helps to maintain the exceptional availability which in turn offers better customer service.

Family Shopper does not operate any membership or joining fees and installs the fascia and imagery free of charge. A wide range of additional services such as recycling, energy savings, free Epos and drop shipment are also available that have been specifically created to add value and keep costs low.

The group continues to attract interest from independent retailers nationwide. By continuing to focus on choice, price and service, the group remains committed to helping Family Shopper retailers grow their sales and profits.


Thriving together

Costcutter store

Costcutter offers ‘best in sector’ commercial terms and a comprehensive support package to help you thrive in the modern convenience retailing environment.

The convenience retail landscape may be continuing to experience unprecedented amounts of change but our fundamental objective – to help independent retailers thrive – remains the same.

Helping our independent retailers thrive means investing in the offer, insights and innovations our retailers need. As a result, our retailers are now able to engage more shoppers to attract them in store and spend more, while also making it as easy as possible to run their business and reduce costs through an extensive package of business services.

We have also been rewarding our retailers’ loyalty with our best-in-sector commercial terms that includes no fees or surcharges and a rebate of up to 6%. This, coupled with the economies of our scale, removes the need for time-wasting trips to the cash and carry. And, with storage space limited at many stores, our smaller minimum order commitments, combined with regular deliveries, helps ensure that retailers are able to keep their shelves stocked.

As a result, we have been attracting some of the best store owners in the sector to join Costcutter Supermarkets Group. Today that means not only being able to choose from our well-recognised Costcutter, Mace, SuperShop and Simply Fresh brands, but also being able to opt to become a Co-op franchise store.

For entrepreneurial retailers who are looking to grow their business, the successful launch of our new supply deal with the Co-op in May last year is clearly a major factor in the decision to join our Group, as we bring together their wholesale strength and grocery retailing expertise with our in-depth understanding of the independent convenience sector.

Our retailers now have access to a broad product range, allowing them to become strong and competitive in areas such as food-to-go, chilled and fresh. Our range now includes Co-op’s own brand products, which is a major draw for shoppers helping to deliver increased footfall and sales. Having delivered sales and profit growth among participating stores since launch in 2017, our unique Shopper First Programme is now expanding into a second phase.

The Shopper First Programme has now been given its own visual identity, and the subtitle ‘Drive Five to Thrive’, highlighting the five key pillars of activity retailers are being urged to focus on, in order to grow their business. These include broader and deeper shopper insights; advice on how to create the right brand engagement; detailed space guidance to maximise profit; ‘always on’ category and range advice; and advice on store execution through POS, technology and staff training.

In fact, for many of our retailers it is small, incremental changes and a focus on consistently high store standards which have delivered the strongest results and we will continue to share best practice and secrets to success across our network.