London-based cash and carry HT amp; Co Drinks is partnering with Gift Creation amp; Design (GC amp;D) in a move designed to open up the gifting market to wholesalers and independent retailers.
HT Drinks, which owns a number of businesses across the independent retail, wholesale and on-trade sectors, has acquired 50% of Blackpool-based GC amp;D, which creates alcohol and food gift packs for multiple retailers, department stores and garden centres. The business will be jointly owned by GC amp;D chairman Mike Brennand, his brother David, HT director Sanjay Thakrar and his cousin Sagar Thakrar.
While the UK gifting market is valued at an attractive £1bn and accounts for a third of all off-trade purchases, Brennand said there was an opportunity for convenience retailers to further capitalise on the sector. “Previously, we’ve only worked with the multiple retailers and department stores, but our partnership with HT will give us access to new markets which have not previously had this channel available to them.”
Thakrar added: “We hope that the partnership will help us to grow our suppliers’ brands by opening up new channels. We’re offering no minimum order requirements for our retail and wholesale customers. In five years’ time, we hope to be the largest gifting company in the UK.”
Expanding the alcohol offer will be a key objective. “Only 20% of our business has been in alcohol gifting – there’s a great opportunity to do more,” said Brennand. “Our membership of Today’s Group will mean that GC amp;D can capitalise on our existing supplier relationships and buying power,” added Thakrar.
Making gifting an everyday occasion rather than a seasonal event will be a key growth driver for GC amp;D, which has traditionally only worked with suppliers over the Christmas period. “Now we can grow their brands all-year round. There’s no reason why our business won’t at least double in size over the next three years,” said Brennand.
The everyday gifting concept will be supported by PoS developed exclusively for the independent retail channel. “We are looking into the introduction of FSDUs with changeable headers to help retailers to respond to occasions like Christmas, Easter and even Chinese New Year. We may trial the POS exclusively with Today’s retailers in early 2015,” he added.