Nisa has issued partnered stores with unannounced wholesale price rises across more than 2,000 lines, affecting margins and the ability to compete with Co-op sites.

Retailers told betterRetailing the increases were mostly between 7p and 10p per line and were often accompanied by recommended retail price increases. The changes came into effect last week across own-label and branded products.

Ronald MacLennan, of McLennan’s Supermarket in Balivanich, said he had been given no explanation for the changes by the wholesaler.

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“It’s disappointing. I was given no warning about the increases. You can increase RRPs to make up for any potential loss in margins, but the real impact will be whether the Co-op will have the same increases. I’ve got three Co-ops nearby my store and I have to be competitive with them on pricing.”

One Nisa retailer added: “It’s cheaper to buy from the Co-op because I haven’t seen them increase their RRP. That’s also without the 5% members can get back on their purchases as well. It also shrinks the margins we get on price marked products.

“There are a lot of Nisa retailers who are frustrated about the price increases and are considering looking elsewhere for the supply from other wholesalers.”

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In a belated message to its partnered stores on the price rises, Nisa highlighted recent improvements, including 2,200 Co-op brand lines, 98% availability and the recruitment of more than 500 stores in 2019.

A Nisa spokesperson commented: “The price changes have been done in such a way as to ensure partner margin is protected and Nisa remains the cheapest across a broad basket of products, having absorbed many inflationary price increases over the past year.”

However, the breadth of the increase was challenged, with some stores disgruntled at the amount of staff time taken to re-price 2,000 lines in one hit.

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