Time to be part of something bigger?

Family Shopper store

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything and while most retailers are doing a lot better than they were prior to the pandemic, the last six months has forced many retailers to take a fresh look at how they run their business – and that includes a fresh look at available business models like fascias, symbol groups and franchises.

So, the last six months haven’t been too bad to you, on a commercial front at least. The world is in tatters on many fronts, but the convenience retailing channel is one of those very rare examples of a sector that has thrived under lockdown. Spare a thought for all those pub, club and restaurant owners out there who have, in many cases, lost everything in the relative blinking of an eye.

But you’ve done alright, thank you very much, and business continues to boom – although perhaps not as loudly as it did a few months ago. But times are still good, sales are still way ahead of where they would normally be and, if you’re lucky, you’ve managed to build up a little war chest, or at least a little something that you could use to invest in your store or simply keep safe for one of the rainy days ahead that are sure to come. It’s been pouring for years in convenience, so a few sun-kissed months have helped restore our faith in the sector.

Coronavirus no doubt forced you to take a fresh look at many aspects of your business and that probably includes your symbol, fascia or franchise partner. Perhaps the one you have isn’t quite suiting your purposes as you hoped it would, perhaps another symbol group seems to be offering a much better package, or perhaps you’re an unaffiliated retailer who likes the sound of accessing all the benefits that being part of something bigger offers.

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Our regular fascia focus helps you make sense of the various packages on the table and hopefully helps you make a much more informed decision about which group might be best for your particular store’s needs. There are a lot of factors to consider and many of them go way deeper than the straightforward ‘how much is this going to cost me?’ starter for 10.

Yes, how much membership costs and what all the various fees are is critical, but it’s not the only thing you should consider. Far from it. And what’s more, it’s exceptionally difficult to actually work out exactly what it will cost you until you start trading with a symbol group, fascia or franchise. The pricing and over-rider models are ferociously complex and it can be difficult to work out what you’ve paid and what you’ve received even when sitting down with a full set of invoices in front of you, a slide rule and calculator by your side.

One of the most obvious – and practical – ways of judging a potential partner is simply to speak to other retailers you know who have worked with them. They’ll tell you a lot of the stuff that’s not on the official marketing materials and might be able to highlight some less-than-obvious weakness (or strengths) in the model under consideration.

Bear in mind however, that you’re getting a filtered version of the reality by talking to other retailers. Their view has been filtered through their own experiences which have been good or bad and which are certain to colour their view. So once you’ve got yourself a shortlist, you will have to talk to your potential partner direct.

This is not an easy game to play and there’s a lot at stake, so the more research you can do the better.

But there’s little doubt that becoming part of something bigger has the potential to help transform your business. Every group offers very different packages so it’s not like you’re comparing apples with apples. A lot depends on your particular store: its location, the demographics of its shopper base, the competition around you, which products and services you want to focus on and a thousand other factors.

One thing you get with every partner, however, is access to a huge support package, in the widest sense. At its most basic, you get a household name above your door that shoppers know and trust. But you also get a huge promotional package, which might come in handy if the predicted price war between the mults kicks off properly, as well as marketing support, better pricing, better and quicker access to NPD and ranging and merchandising advice.

You get the benefit of any group-wide advertising or promotion, sometimes even television ads (depending upon the group). You get better access to own label products, an integrated Epos system (if you want it), IT support and commercial advice, and you get someone at the end of the phone who understands your business and wants to help.

It’s worth pointing out however that, just like in any relationship, you often get out of it what you put in. A relationship is a two-way thing and trust has to be built up between the partners. For retailers, that means buying (the bulk of) your stock from your partner just as you’re meant to and ensuring in-store compliance is high.

The groups put a lot of effort into producing the regular promotional campaigns, for instance, and if retailers simply aren’t executing them well in-store, the whole thing falls down and the relationship can quickly become frayed and fraught.

So if you commit to a partnership, then commit fully. And if you do that, there’s a good chance your symbol, fascia or franchise partner will reciprocate and give you all the support and help you need in return.

Whoever you choose, particularly if you’re joining a group for the first time, you will see immediate benefits. Fewer trips to the cash and carry for a start, better pricing most of the time and an organised promotional programme to excite shoppers, complete with POS. It can help your store move up a level and grow your footfall, sales and profits.

And if you’re moving groups and you choose wisely, you will also see some significant benefits quickly.

As we begin to emerge from lockdown into whatever ‘new normal’ awaits us, it’s statistically highly likely that being part of something bigger will help you become something bigger yourself.


Nisa: your partner of choice

Nisa Local Greenock

Nisa works with many of Scotland’s finest stores and with 40 years of experience, fully flexible model and alignment with Co-op is the perfect partner for retailers looking grow their sales and profits.

Nisa is proud to work with many multi award-winning stores in Scotland including Pinkie Farm, Greens of Markinch and David’s Kitchen to name a few, making us the proven partner of choice for market-leading, independently minded retailers in Scotland.

And with a record number of retailers moving to Nisa Retail last year and those investing in new and upgraded stores enjoying average sales uplifts of 12%, there never has been a better time to join us.

For more than 40 years we have worked with independent retailers, helping them to grow their businesses through a comprehensive support package. And now part of the Co-op group we are even better placed to do that, making greater investment in price and promotions and improving our offer to partners. We also enjoy increased buying power and a broader product range.

Nisa’s flexible model provides its retailers with an unbeatable breadth of range of more than 13,000 SKUs. The inclusion of more than 2,000 Co-op own brand products across all categories offers a recognised, quality brand for shoppers and good margins for retailers. Nisa’s own award-winning own-label range, Heritage, is also available, providing even more choice with quality products at affordable prices.

A major development to Nisa’s already compelling offer has been the roll out of Co-op own brand which has been a big success and has included Co-op’s extensive festive product range and the innovative plant-based GRO range. Over 90% of Nisa retailers stock Co-op own brand and our partners in the Republic of Ireland also benefit, as the range is not sterling price marked.

Nisa’s promotional alignment with Co-op has also given retailers access to sector-leading deals, with promotions including lunch meal deals, the popular £5 freezer filler deals, Super Saver Deals and more. At a time when value is more important than ever to shoppers, strong promotions are key to the Nisa offer.

Nisa provides a complete retail support package comprising a strong retail focused team, a staff training facility and a comprehensive marketing package incorporating social media and PR support, bespoke leaflets, point of sale material, a personalised Nisa FM radio network and national advertising.

Alongside our bespoke EPoS solution, Evolution, our latest technology offering is a new mobile app which launched in June 2020. Free to download from the Apple Store and Google Play, it offers many advantages to retailers.

The app makes it much easier to trade with Nisa and has been well received and widely adopted by Nisa partners. It allows Nisa’s partners to run their stores remotely, placing orders, checking stock and confirming order status all through their mobile devices as well as receiving push notifications which ensure they never miss out on the latest deals because they’re away from the back office computer.

Nisa retailers can source local products and have them invoiced centrally, creating a simpler, time efficient process. All orders are placed directly with individual suppliers, deliveries are made direct to store, but the invoicing and administration is managed centrally.

This is all delivered by Nisa’s industry leading supply chain which retailers can trust with an impressive 99.9% of deliveries made on the day and 95.2% successfully made on time.

And we know community involvement is key to independent retailers, which is why we enable our partners to support local good causes through Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally charity. To date more than 12,000 donations totalling around £9.5m have been made across the UK and Ireland.

To find out more, complete the form on www.join-nisa.co.uk/contact-us or contact our development team on 0800 542 7490.


Number one for a reason

Premier store

Premier is the UK’s biggest symbol group, reaching that’s position by remaining relentlessly committed to delivering more profit for retailers and a better shopping experience for consumers.

Premier is the UK’s number one symbol group with over 3,450 stores nationwide. The group is committed to delivering more profits for retailers and a better shopping experience for consumers. Premier has seen eighteen years of consecutive growth.

Premier continues to advertise on TV. Premier is advertised every day which will be seen over 100 million times annually. 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 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 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 5% 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 energy savings, free Epos and central billing 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 fantastic convenience stores.

To find out more or to enquire about joining, call 01933 371246.


Your zero cost partner for profit

Londis offers retailers a highly flexible, zero cost model that offers a fully delivered service and a support package for all, all backed by the strength of Booker, the UK’s biggest wholesaler.

Londis is part of Booker Group, the UK’s leading food and drink wholesaler. With over 1,900 members, Londis work in partnership with its independent retailers to provide local communities with all they need in a convenience store.

Backed by Booker Group, Londis has delivered on a number of benefits and opportunities for our retailers such as; great value prices, exclusive products and improved quality to help retailers drive footfall and make more cash profit.

There is a focus on supporting new footfall driving categories as such as Chilled, Food-to-go (especially the eat now mission), meal solutions and also the latest trends like health and habit forming foods, free from, premium spirits and American candy.

Londis have also recently launched a Dessert Bar offer creating a destination store experience for shoppers as well as helping retailers to make more cash profit. It is the focus on areas of growth that help Londis stand out from the competition in today’s rapidly expanding convenience market

Londis operate a zero cost model and is a flexible symbol partner that has a fully delivered service and support package to suit all. Londis also support with award winning ranges, an industry leading fresh offer with over 2,000 lines and a fantastic promotional package offering minimum POR’s of 20% on core deals.

With smart planning, local area knowledge, range optimisation and the symbol groups 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
  • Fantastic promotional package with strong retailer margins
  • Free Promotion Leaflets and FREE store point of sale support
  • Spend & Save discounts of up to 5%*
  • Award winning fresh range with over 2,000 lines.
  • Award winning own brand ranges; Discover the Choice and 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

*Terms and conditions apply.

For more information or to join, call 0808 1788644 or visit www.joinlondis.co.uk.

Family Shopper

The ultimate value option

Family Shopper store

The Family Shopper format is the ultimate solution for lookers seeking to deliver discount-sector value to their shoppers while also gaining the benefits of symbol retailing.

Family Shopper is a discount format for independent retailers that merges 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 Booker branches. This helps to maintain the exceptional availability to deliver fantastic customer service.

There are no membership or joining fees and the Family Shopper fascia and imagery are installed free of charge. Additional services such as energy savings, free Epos and central billing 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. With a focus on choice, price and service, the group remains committed to helping Family Shopper retailers grow their sales and profits.

To find out more or to enquire about joining, call 01933 371757.


Time to thrive with Costcutter

Costcutter store

Costcutter’s purpose is to help independent retailers thrive and to support the vital role they play in their local communities, says Group Marketing Director Sean Russell.

At its core, our purpose is simple: to help independent retailers thrive and to support the vital role they play in their local communities.

Our retailers have attracted many new shoppers with the recent surge in demand and we’re now accelerating plans to support them beyond the Covid-19 crisis by helping them convert shoppers who have used their stores as a lifeline, into lifelong loyal customers.

At the heart of our plans is our unique Shopper First: Drive Five to Thrive business growth programme. Available exclusively to Costcutter Supermarkets Group retailers, it provides in-depth shopper insights and data to help tailor every aspect of the store to reflect changing shopper needs – from range and missions, to store development and design.

The significant investment we have made into our field team enables us to offer the best levels of support across the sector. This has proved pivotal during Covid-19 and continues to be key in helping retailers maximize the benefits of our Shopper First programme, especially as they look to adapt their stores and offer as we emerge from lockdown and prepare for the upcoming recession. Alongside this we’re continuing to invest and build upon the innovative marketing and business solutions we have in place, to continue to help our independent retailers reach more shoppers.

With hygiene and safety paramount in the minds of shoppers today, we’ll continue to update and share with our independent retailers, comprehensive and appropriate guidance to help them keep their staff and shoppers safe. We’ll also continue to share best practice on a range of services, such as last mile delivery, to help them further support their local communities.

Our latest financial results revealed a 10% growth in sales overall, driven by the growth our independent retailers have experienced by putting their shoppers at the heart of their business.

Retailers who have participated in our Shopper First programme have seen a minimum of 20% sales growth, demonstrating our clear commitment to help independent retailers thrive.

Access to the Co-op Own Brand is a major highlight within our range. With over 2,000 products, this has been a proven driver of increased footfall, basket spend, and sales increase across our stores.

We also invest heavily in marketing support, from traditional leaflets to social media and innovative mobile marketing solutions, helping our retailers engage with their shoppers and maximise their sales.

We reward our retailers’ loyalty with excellent rebates of up to 6%, alongside some of the best commercial terms in the sector.

As a result, we have been attracting some of the best store owners in the sector to join and grow their business with Costcutter Supermarkets Group.”

STG July 2021