Conference Review

Mike Paul, managing director of Western Wines, refuted suggestions that suppliers have been using the wholesale sector to subsidise their deals with the multiples.

He said his company had until recently dealt almost solely with the multiples, but had changed because it was missing out on a significant opportunity in the wholesale/ independent sector, and because its business model was expandable.

“Instead of simply seeing the two sectors as competitors, implying we needed to make a choice, we saw that there was an opportunity to be successful in both,” he said.

He added: “If Western Wines or indeed any supplier gives the impression that the independent sector is there to subsidise activity in the supermarkets they will be sussed out.

“The beauty for you [wholesalers]of this market is that there are plenty of suppliers. If we or anyone else doesn’t come up with the right deal, and/or have the right attitude to planning a service, then you can just move on.

“We understand that. The onus is on us to prove we do care … not on you to prove we don’t.

“What we would hope is that we can establish a number of longer-term relationships, as we have in the supermarket sector, which are naturally profitable and within which we can together promote a healthy wine market.”

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