EXCLUSIVE: 12,000 stores now using Bobby’s Extra confectionery wholesale service

The deal will add to existing relationships in the country with Nisa, Costcutter, Henderson Group and Savage & Whitten

Confectionery wholesaler Bobby’s has rebranded its boxed courier service, as 60% of the firm’s retailers are now ordering from it. 

Initially called Bobby’s Box, the service will be renamed Bobby’s Extra and is exclusive to independent retailers. The firm’s national sales manager, John Lucas, told Better Retailing that 12,000 of Bobby’s 20,000 customers have used the service since it launched in September last year. 

Available nationwide, retailers can order a box of popular Bobby’s confectionery, with an average margin of 30%. It is available on sale or return and retailers can choose to include plain-pack or price-marked confectionery ranging from £1 to £5. The boxes are delivered through the DPD courier service, with deliveries taking two to four days to arrive from ordering. 

Lucas said: “The service started because of our customer engagement surveys where retailers were asking if we could provide more stock. Our vans could only fit so many products. When a delivery comes to a store we give the retailer the option to order from 25 additional lines, which are delivered through the Extra service.” 

Bagged sweets and sugar confectionery are available but savoury products, such as crisps, usually aren’t because of space constraints in the box and potential damage through a courier service. 

He added: “We have an eight-case minimum-order requirement and the average box price is £10, but it does generate a great incremental sales opportunity for retailers.” 

The service can also help with seasonal opportunities, allowing retailers to adapt more quickly to sudden changes in demand. 

He also revealed plans for Northern Ireland, after achieving a 500-retailer milestone in the region with the opening of its first permanent depot last month. Bobby’s currently has four vehicles serving Northern Ireland, and an upcoming partnership with a yet-to-be-announced symbol group will open a fifth route. 

The deal will add to existing relationships in the country with Nisa, Costcutter, Henderson Group and Savage & Whitten. 

Lucas said: “We’ve got all the vehicles and equipment ready and we’re recruiting staff who can help support this. We’d always do trade shows in the UK and customers would ask when we’re going to Northern Ireland to support independent retailers. 

“The opening of our 12th depot last month will help us meet this demand. We’re bringing the same service elements we have in other regions. One of the vans is geared towards helping with merchandising

“We started with 36 retailer accounts prior to the pandemic and we’ve got plenty of room to grow further in Northern Ireland.” 

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