Wholesale depot warehouse

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) is working with Scottish Parliament and the ACS to find evidence of suppliers prioritising supply into the multiples.

Last month, the SWA surveyed its wholesale members on how the coronavirus has affected them. SWA chief executive Colin Smith told betterRetailing one concern raised was the availability of products seen in the supermarkets, compared to independent retail.

“We have picked up with suppliers, and worked with Scottish MP Fergus Ewing. He has sent a letter on behalf of the SWA, the wholesalers, and the food and drink industry saying we need equality of supply and fairness on goods and pricing,” he explained.

Coronavirus: Booker Retail MD responds to availability criticisms

“Average availability for independent wholesale before the pandemic was 98%, but this has dropped to 80%. This has been down to unavailable packs, and some will say it’s preference to the multiples, which is something we’re trying to get evidence of.”

When asked how evidence is being gathered, Smith said the SWA is working with the ACS to analyse EPoS data. “We’ll look at the data in the stores and compare it with shelves in the multiples.

“We also need to look at availability as a whole. Retailers shop around. If one wholesaler doesn’t have a product, but another does, then that’s an issue with that particular business.”

Find out more on our coronavirus information hub for retailers