Benson urges extra support for retailers

Wholesalers have been urged to work harder with their retailer customers to keep them profitable by Scottish Wholesale Association president Graham Benson.

Speaking at the SWA annual conference Benson said: “Those retailers represent a huge opportunity for us all – and we can help turn their businesses around, if they let us.”

He was keen to point out the importance of working with the retailers and encouraging and inspiring them, but he also noted the complications. “Because there is tremendous diversity across those individual businesses, what works for one retailer doesn’t necessarily work for another.”

Benson also questioned whether suppliers were aware of how important margins were to ensure wholesalers could provide customers with what they needed. He said: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to pass on any added value services to customers because of these wafer thin margins.”

He highlighted the importance of the catering sector, saying: “For many SWA members, the catering and foodservice sectors are vital to our future profitability.” He added that more and more wholesalers were seeing the opportunity within the tourism food and drink market. Now they needed to alert the suppliers to this developing sector.

Benson said: “Suppliers often think they know more about our businesses than we do but it’s up to us as individuals to change suppliers’ perception of wholesalers.”

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