Cash and carry warehouses are providing better value and service to retailers compared to delivered alternatives, Time Wholesale Services (TWS) founder Sony Bihal has said.
The Unitas Wholesale member currently has a display area in its Rainham depot in Essex, showing retailers the features of a Lifestyle Express store. The display has helped the company recruit 30 retailers to the fascia this year and Bihal said he expects to add another 20 in the next six months.
Bihal told RN: “We’re still focusing on the cash and carry services because a retailer always gets the best value in a depot. Businesses like Parfetts and East End Foods are still focused on the cash and carry.
“Retailers who visit our depot every month are shown what other stores are doing and given advice on how to make food to go profitable.
“A retailer can always pick up something they discover will be right for their store in a depot.”
More than two-thirds of TWS’ business comes from retailers going into its depot, while online contributes £350,000 in weekly sales.
The strategy follows the completed merger of Landmark and Today’s Group into Unitas last month. As part of the deal, Unitas aims to have 99.4% of its range made up of products from third-party suppliers.
Bihal backed the strategy as a way of competing with the larger scale of the multiples, which he argued would give them an advantage on own-label products. “The biggest struggle for retailers next year is the push of own-brand sales,” he said.
“The supermarkets and discounters focus on brands, but there will be new challengers for retailers if Jack’s starts to expand.”
“Retailers need to really get close to their customers and find out what they want. That’s how you sell cases and that’s how you make money. Those that don’t adapt to market changes will be at risk.”
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