Costcutter retailer becomes first woman to join Unilever panel

Nithyanandan said she was nervous about joining the panel, but came out of her first meeting feeling much more confident.

Sue Nithyanandan at her store.

Unilever has appointed Sue Nithyanandan to its retailer advisory board panel, marking the first time a female has ever held a position.

Nithyanandan has become the first-ever female member of the supplier’s retailer advisory panel in its Partners for Growth scheme.

Nithyanandan runs Costcutter Epsom in Surrey alongside her husband Subramaniam. She told Better Retailing that she was approached by the supplier last month and recently attended her first meeting with the group focusing on its Partners for Growth scheme.

“I was a bit apprehensive about joining such an esteemed group,” she said. “I had a phone call from Unilever, and I said why not? I was quite excited, too. I know it’s always been all men there, but I think as women we’re aware of different things.”

Nithyanandan added that the first meeting she attended “went really well”, and she feels she brought an insight into what families and communities want to the panel.

“The whole panel is about gaining insights into shopper behaviour patterns, and I know Unilever really trust and really need our channel for that,” she explained. “I’m very pleased that as a business they value our contributions and advice.”

When asked, Nithyanandan agreed that women in the convenience sector are finally seeing the recognition they deserve, which she attributed to initiatives like Women in Convenience.

“I think these collective voices are making an impression,” she said. “People are valuing the contributions women are making in this field.”


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