Wholesale set to drive industry growth

With the convenience industry enjoying increased store numbers and consumers visiting their local store more often, it’s little surprise to find the cash & carry industry in hot competition with improved incentives and impressive growth plans.

While the integration of Makro into the Booker business has been making all the headlines of late, it’s been pretty much business as usual for retailers and their relationship with cash and carries. Booker continues to post impressive results, with its latest period (ending 13th September), it posted sales of £2.2bn, up 16.5%. Like-for-like sales were +2.3% while non-tobacco sales were +5%. Online sales at the company grew to £369m, +11% measured against last year. Profit after tax stood at £58.3 (+43%), contributing to improved net cash of £123.4m.

As discussed in our cover story this month, the Makro/Booker deal is less likely to effect retailers – the trade only sections of Makro stores being the only obvious difference to the untrained eye, but with the cross-pollination of products across both the end result is more choice for retailers – and that’s what they’re looking for, along with better prices and better incentives.

One company’s whose presence in Scotland continues to grow is Batleys Scotland, which operates seven Cash & Carry depots and although it is widely reported that more and more retailers are joining fascia groups or relying on delivered wholesale, that is not reflected in business at Batleys where footfall and sales continue to grow at +9.6% year to date.

According to the company, all depots are showing impressive growth from Aberdeen in the north (41%) to Glasgow (10%). The group has listened to retail customers, adapted and is now offering better services to customers as a result.

Batleys says that availability is its top priority, claiming that there’s a perception that availability is better from delivered operators, however it says it strives to achieve exceptional availability across its total range.

Promotions from the group are also tailored exclusively for Scotland at its regional office in Edinburgh and a Scotland specific promotional leaflet is produced every month. This promotional programme extends to its ‘Xtra Local’ retail club which currently has over 200 members across the region. Retailers are provided with a complete promotional programme, across all product categories and, as with the depot promotions, they are tailored specifically for the Scottish region.

On a more local level, and United Wholesale (Scotland) is having a strong year, which reflects the strength of the independent sector. Revenue at the Glasgow-based wholesaler was up 10% to £202.5m for 2012.

The company managed to boost profits further, with pre-tax profits up 22.4% to £2m, money which the company is using to fund an expansion to its Maxwell Road site in the south side of Glasgow, and invest in IT infrastructure. The Maxwell Road site is set to double in size, with drinks sales being added for the first time. Perhaps more significantly, the company is set to open a 65,000 sq ft site in Edinburgh next year. All in all, 2014 is set to be an interesting year for the wholesale industry.

Deals on offer from new website

A new website called Mad About Deals is offering claiming to offer competitive pricing and great deals to retailers has just been launched.

The site is the brainchild of Suleman Sacranie, the creator of the 99p Shopper website. Featuring top branded products covering grocery, household, soft drinks, confectionery, crisps & snacks and alcohol, the site specialises in the sale and distribution of discounted deals to retailers across the UK.

Sacranie commented: “Retailers often go in search for deals at different Cash & Carries, which can take up a lot of time away from their businesses. Mad About Deals brings brilliant value, high quality products at attractive prices into one place all easily accessible online. Add to that free delivery and it’s possible that the days of needing to visit the Cash & Carry could soon become a thing of the past”.

He says the site was created with retailers’ interests in mind, rather than being wholesaler or supplier driven. It provides a user-friendly e-commerce experience, accepts all major credit and debit cards.

The website also features a special ‘When It’s Gone it’s Gone’ section at greatly discounted prices for even better value.

All Mad About Deals stock is sourced from UK manufacturers or their nominated agents. Delivery to store is carried out by Palmer and Harvey, offering retailers a fast, flexible and reliable service from the UK’s leading wholesale distributor.

Retailers who register now can select to receive free alerts by email and text, including special promotions enabling them to take advantage of exclusive on-line deals.

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