FWD Conference: “Help us to help one million businesses”

The wholesale sector now supplies and supports one million businesses in the UK, according to FWD chief executive James Bielby.

Opening the Federation’s 2012 conference yesterday (12 July), Bielby appealed to suppliers to support and invest in wholesalers.

“UK wholesalers now have one million customers – they are vital for the economic recovery of the country and support a network of wealth-creating, economy-driving entrepreneurs,” he said. “Help us to help you [suppliers]hook up with those one million businesses: invest in this great route to market. Wholesalers are focused and disciplined, dynamic and engaged.”

Bielby said that the FWD was determined to change the perception of wholesalers as “box-humpers” – the organisation was undertaking a full audit of the sector to do this. “We will be looking at everything, we’ll be looking at how we share data, because knowledge is power and aids advocacy and lobbying.

Bielby also made some predictions about how the wholesale sector might look in 2022: “Symbols will dominate; over 80% of independents will have EPoS; there will be fewer price-marked packs; there will be more wholesaler consolidation; half of all ordering will be done online; and there will be more wholesaler-supplier co-operation,” he said.

• See the August issue of Wholesale News for in-depth coverage of the FWD conference.

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