Some commentators are constantly writing off the future prospects of the wholesale sector, and particularly the cash and carry operators, but time and again the sector proves them wrong.
A bumper crop of results for groups and individual companies reported in this month’s issue should make the critics think again. Right across the board from one of the biggest players, Bestway, across the groups such as Today’s, Landmark Wholesale and Key Lekkerland, and even smaller players such as Hancocks, the message is the same. Conditions are extremely tough out there but businesses are still managing to increase their sales and make a profit.
Some of the teenage scribblers in the City can’t understand how a company can have a turnover of pound;1.35bn like Bestway, and a profit of “just pound;57m”, but then they just can’t comprehend the wafer slim margins wholesalers have to contend with, or the amount of entrepreneurial skill required to prosper in such a climate.
And of course they are not the only ones showing an almost wilful disregard for the realities facing wholesalers. The competition authorities have turned a blind eye while the big four have ruthlessly exploited their dominant position, often retailing products at prices that cash and carries and increasingly foodservice wholesalers can’t hope to match.
But even with their colossal power – perhaps even because of it – the big four cannot match the wholesalers and their independent retailer customers when it comes to being part of the community.
The My Shop is Your Shop campaign has highlighted the winning formula independent retailers need to adopt, and increasingly this message is hitting home with suppliers too. That is why they are eagerly supporting the National Independents’ Day coupon scheme reported on page four, and they can bank on wholehearted support from wholesalers. It should make quite a splash in the build-up and on June 1.
l Please note that my telephone number has changed and you can now contact me on the number below. All other contact details remain the same.