Bestway Wholesale this week released figures for its recently-launched Central Pick chilled distribution service for members of its Best-In retail symbol customers.
The service, which was launched on October 26 last year, sees members’ chilled orders picked at source then delivered to their local depot which “executes the last mile” and delivers to the store.
Sales of chilled to members has increased by over a third and availability has increased to 97% – Bestway claims this is the group’s best-ever availability figure.
Beforehand, local depots were responsible for fulfilling the chilled requirement. This meant that products were delivered to depot then picked for the customer – which on occasion meant that optimum freshness and shelf-life were not being given to members. Now a customer’s chilled requirement is picked to order at source in the Chilled Distribution Centre as soon as requested and then sent to the customers nearest depot. The depot then delivers to store in the next 24 hours.
James Hall, Bestway symbol director said: “With shopping trends now changed to ‘little and often’, sales of chilled and fresh continue to motor. Since the launch of the central pick service sales of chilled have increase 34% with fresh meat and fruit and veg the star performers. Other categories including dairy and chilled snacks have also seen double digit growth.
“The introduction of central pick has meant that products are delivered to store with a much increased shelf life, in effect ‘de-risking’ the category. We are able to forecast and plan better and therefore offer greater availability.”
Hall said that chilled and fresh was now a core part of the convenience offer, with 40% of all c-store baskets including a chilled or fresh product.
“Chilled will account for 40% of a store’s total taking by 2020,” he added. With the introduction of the Living Wage, retailers will find life that little bit more expensive. So it is critical that they focus now on high margin areas to offset costs.”