Nisa rings changes as sales value jumps

Symbol wholesaler announces own-brand investment, new store formats and franchise option as Costcutter departure nears

Nisa’s latest results, the last year to include goods delivered to Costcutter’s outlets, showed sales value up 10.5% year on year.

NISA, the member-owned wholesaler and symbol store operation has announced substantial increases in sales as it carries out a series of changes ahead of the departure of Costcutter from its distribution contract.

Costcutter is scheduled to enact its new arrangements, which include collaboration with wholesaler Palmer and Harvey in a buying group and a distribution agreement, in July.
Nisa saw sales increase 10.5% in value terms and 12.9% in volume year on year.
The performance followed a record Christmas that saw 16.4% growth.
The firm said it had recruited 692 stores over the 12 months. On average, it said, retailers who joined Nisa has seen a sales uplift of around 10 per cent in their first year.
The news came on the back of announcements about a series of projects and initiatives which seem to be designed, in part, to establish the group for life after Costcutter.
It has invested heavily in new own-label range, complete with good, better and best ranges, which it says it will develop from £200m sales to £500m. It is also currently trialling new store formats in a programme that’s designed to align individual stores more closely to their catchment areas.
The group launched the first of its new store formats last month following what it says was detailed analysis of its existing store styles and of shopper missions.
Both the trial stores are said to have seen sales increase by more than 10%.
Simon Webster, finance director for Nisa was bullish about future growth: “The convenience sector is in a period of expansion with a number of operators looking to increase their estate, but convenience store development is a tough thing to get right,” he said.
Late last month the group announced a new franchise trial which will roll out to a number of stores by the end of 2014.
The franchise option will encourage retailers to adopt a systemised approach, which Nisa suggests should see them earn an extra 3% in profit through increased sales and greater efficiencies.