A £20m investment over the next three years, more focus on the National Lottery, new games and more support for retailers should add up to growth for independents, says Camelot’s retail operations director Duncan Malyon. Louise Banham reports

RN You’ve announced a £20m investment in retail for the next three years. Will that help independents?
DM We want to significantly increase investment in our 46,000-strong retailer base. The biggest slug of that is support for independents because they’re the biggest part of our customer base. 

RN What benefits can RN readers expect to see?
DM We’re doubling the size of our salesforce to 120 reps from 2 April. There will also be more PoS, improved visibility in store and broadened availability. We’ll double the frequency of calls to retailers, to a minimum of four face-to-face visits a year. We’ll intersperse that with increased telephone contact – a minimum of four calls a year. 

RN What in-store support will you provide?
DM We’re introducing a store standards programme, which will be a how-to guide to making the most of the National Lottery. We’re also introducing a retailer rewards programme. If retailers do a great job of merchandising and selling the National Lottery, we’ll reward them every time we go in store. We’ll make sure they have the play station and promotional posters sited in a visible place, the right stock of games in their scratchcard dispensers and that they’re upselling. If we can get every retailer doing that it makes a huge difference. 

RN Do you have an issue with retailer compliance?
DM It’s like any category – you want retailers to execute it perfectly. We’re different, though, because we give clear advice on how retailers can get the most out of the National Lottery. If you do it well and your compliance is great, we’ll reward you. 

RN Lotto sales have fallen recently. What are you doing to address this?
DM The Lotto has had a tough time in the past couple of years, so at the end of 2018 we’ll relaunch it. We’ve listened to players who say they’d like the game to be more exciting and focus on the experience of winning. But we won’t change the price or the number of balls.

RN What else are you doing to drive sales?
DM We’ve just launched EuroMillions HotPicks and an extra day for Thunderball. We’re looking at introducing a new type of game in 2019 – an annuity game. Instead of playing for a one-off, massive jackpot, it pays a regular amount for life. In markets like America it performs brilliantly. We think there’s a real market for it in the UK. 

RN You’re investing in digital and sales through self-service tills too. Will that impact independents’ sales?
DM We’re investing in digital sales, but it’s not at the expense of retail. Retail is broadly 75% of our sales and we will continue to invest in it. Self-serve is becoming more important, so we’re running a pilot with one of the biggest retailers and expect to roll out shortly. At this stage, we’re unlikely to make it available to independents, though, because most don’t have self-serve. 

RN Is all this activity a concerted effort to change the opinions of retailers who may have switched off from Camelot?
DM We want retailers to be engaged, understand the value of the Lottery and be positive about selling it. We recognise retailers need support and that’s what we’re giving them. We had a tough couple of years, but the Lottery is still a £5.3bn category in retail. Retailers still love the products, but we know we can do better and that’s why we’re investing. 


** Company CV ** 

Company Camelot

Retail operations director Duncan Malyon

Profile Camelot products are sold through a retail network of 46,000 stores, which make up 75% of its sales.

Latest news After a strategic review, Camelot is spending £20m over the next three years to drive sales, with new games, a doubled salesforce, a retailer rewards programme and a store standards programme all part of its investment.