Sugro’s new managing director, Neil Turton, has pledged to offer retailers more product categories and online support in a bid to stop operating as an “old-fashioned” buying group.

Former Nisa boss Turton, who joined the company in August, told RN that retailers who buy from Sugro’s 80 wholesale members will be able to access more than just impulse products, which it has traditionally specialised in. “There have been a lot of market changes and Sugro has to press the refresh button on its strategy to remain relevant,” he said.

“The company has always been known for products such as confectionery, crisps and soft drinks. We still want to invest in these categories and continue working closely with suppliers to develop them, but we’ve been spending a lot of time concentrating on new agreements with key suppliers in the alcohol and grocery categories to offer a wider range of products to our retailers.”

As part of the new strategy over the next year, Sugro’s 21,000 retailers will also be able to access a programme that provides advice on marketing products from the additional categories. “We want to go from being old-fashioned to digitally innovative,” added Turton.

“Our plan is to become much more of a resource for retailers and offer them information on new products alongside advice online. There’s work being done on the way our wholesale members offer products to customers online.”

Turton said a third of its wholesale membership currently allows their retailers to purchase stock online, and it is making investments in helping other members offer similar services. “If we improve the way we look after our members, then their retail customers will benefit and confidence from suppliers will also grow.”

“We might not have the scale of other buying groups, but our size means we can make decisions much more quickly.  

“We have been without an MD for most of this year, but now we can move forward again.”

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