Graham Holter, group editor of Off Licence News, Wine Spirit and Drinks International, spoke about the challenges facing the wholesalers’ customers.
He suggested off licences wanting to expand should not necessarily embrace a full convenience offering. “There’s nothing to be gained from switching from being an averagely good specialist drinks retailer to a mediocre convenience store.
“Instead, independent drinks retailers should be encouraged to think about what their customers want other than drinks. It probably isn’t cat food or ink jet cartridges but it may well be flowers, or greetings cards, or the facility to have their purchase gift-wrapped.”
Holter also encouraged retailers to be more exciting with wine. “Too many retailers in the convenience sector have a frighteningly conservative approach to wine and, as a result, they’re missing sales. I genuinely believe that retailers – whether you put them under the heading of convenience or specialist – can make more money out of wine if only they are brave enough to take the plunge and offer some real choice.”