Options widen as symbols progress

Discussions with the Post Office, Subway, Cuisine de France and Costa Coffee

Point of sale that signals value with price comparisons to the major multiples

Franchise trial to roll out to stores by the end of 2014

New symbol portfolio of three core brands

WHAT should a retailer look out for when he or she is thinking of joining a symbol group or considering whether to make a change?
Well the basics have been set for quite a long time.

What cost, if any is there to the retailer to be a member of the symbol group? What cost might be involved in a required refit? What obligations (for example minimum spend) are retailers required to meet?
How good is the range of goods? How does the cost of goods measure up against other wholesalers? Can the symbol wholesaler handle fresh, chilled, frozen and ambient goods or does it have systems in place to ensure that all types of goods can be delivered?
Does the symbol group’s delivery programme meet your needs? Do its general range and its regular promotions feature items popular in Scotland and, especially, in your area? What help and advice is available on marketing and merchandising? How well is the symbol known?
Beyond those basics what makes it special?

Day-Today now offers a range of fascia options including the black fascia designed for large, high-turnover stores.
Day-Today now offers a range of fascia options including the black fascia designed for large, high-turnover stores.

• At pioneering symbol group Spar one of the buzz terms at the moment is sustainable growth.
“Spar has a comprehensive retailer support package covering all areas of operations and provides retailers with all the tools and support to ensure sustained future growth,” the firm told Scottish Grocer.
“There are no start-up costs and when you join Spar you get free membership for a year. This helps fund the guild system in Spar, which gives all retailers a voice within the business.
“Our flexible approach to size and type of store means we can offer retailers a variety of packages and credit terms ranging from co-investment in individual store refurbishment to equipment/leasing loans and licensing/franchise agreements.
“We are in discussions with the Post Office, Subway, Cuisine de France and Costa Coffee about installing units in many sites.”

Spar offers a variety of packages and credit terms from co-investment in store refurbishment to franchise agreements.
Spar offers a variety of packages and credit terms from co-investment in store refurbishment to franchise agreements.

Bestway takes a variety of approaches to deals and formats.
“It’s about much more than simply fascia and promotions,” said James Hall, group director of symbol at Bestway.
“A good symbol group invests in its members to help them better meet evolving consumer needs for shopping little and often.
“Our promotional offers are highly competitive and we are now producing point of sale which signals value to the consumer by price comparisons with the major multiples.”
Bestway also offers Xtra Local to independent retailers. Currently there are almost 200 Xtra Local retailers across Scotland.
Retailers agree to purchase all promotions in each given period, display provided POS and distribute consumer leaflets and, in return, receive the promotional deals and POS, online category management advice, a free copy of the monthly Impact magazine and the benefit of the Xtra Local website.

Best-one provides store layouts based on shopping missions rather than traditional category-based sections.
Best-one provides store layouts based on shopping missions rather than traditional category-based sections.

• Glasgow-based United Wholesale Scotland is currently busy on an expansion programme that includes massive enlargement of its depot on Glasgow’s south side and the development of a new depot in Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh site will, among other things, help serve the growing number of Day-Today symbol stores that UWS has in Scotland.
The company has been transforming formerly non-affiliated stores as well as recruiting stores from other symbol groups. It now has a series of fascia styles and formats to suit a wide range of outlets and businesses. Day-Today is available in the established green livery and can suit stores of different sizes as Day-Today or Day-Today Express. The elite Day-Today black fascia is designed for larger, higher turnover stores, which will often have good chilled food and fresh produce departments.
And for small local stores it has developed its U-Save concept.

• One of the most interesting developments from Premier symbol owner Booker in recent times has been the launch of Family Shopper, value-led stores featuring a mix of branded products, own-label lines and pound deals.
The main Premier symbol group has been adding stores. In the most recent Booker annual results the firm reported that the number of Premier Stores in the UK had risen from 2,802 to 2,982 and that sales had grown by 12% in a year.

• United Wholesale Grocers, the established Glasgow-based family-run wholesaler with depots in the city’s Springburn and Polmadie districts, has completed the extension of Polmadie.
The firm says it has seen significant increases in volume of orders, which it puts down to its free delivery, customer care, and competitive pricing.
And it says its Shopsmart symbol group is growing rapidly and has become one of Scotland’s leading symbol groups, with more than 200 stores.

Shopsmart, one of Scotland’s growing symbol group players. There are now more than 200 across Scotland.
Shopsmart, one of Scotland’s growing symbol group players. There are now more than 200 across Scotland.

Nisa has announced a new franchise trial which will roll out to a number of stores by the end of 2014.
If successful, it will, says the firm help to further broaden Nisa’s offer to independent retailers allowing them to trade under their own fascia, under one of its symbol brands or alternatively under the new franchise option.
The franchise approach will encourage retailers to adopt a systemised, disciplined approach, which the company says could see them earn an extra 3% profit.

Nisa has followed up trials of new store styles and demographically aligned ranges with a trial of franchise stores.
Nisa has followed up trials of new store styles and demographically aligned ranges with a trial of franchise stores.

• At KeyStore wholesaler, Glasgow-based JW Filshill, sales and marketing director, Ian McDonald, said: “A real point of difference we have over other groups is that we will provide a tailor-made package for you – we know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ trading format so we work in partnership with our retailers.
“We also provide very high levels of support behind the scenes and through regular face-to-face contact, with the majority of KeyStore retailers receiving a visit from our retail development managers roughly every three weeks.

• As reported on the news pages of SG, Costcutter Supermarkets Group plans a new portfolio of three core brands – Costcutter (for shops at the heart of communities), Kwiksave ( fun stores for bargain hunters), and Mace (quick-stop shops), with a premium version of the Costcutter brand available for retailers where location and demographics require higher specifications.

• Landmark Wholesale’s fascia group, Lifestyle Express, scooped one of the top awards at research company him!’s Convenience Tracking Programme Awards last month .
Lifestyle Express was awarded Best Convenience Retailer for Customer Service in recognition of its retailers consistently going above and beyond when it comes to customer care.

Lifestyle Express, winner of the Best Convenience Retailer for Customer Service Award at the him! Convenience Tracking Programme Awards.
Lifestyle Express, winner of the Best Convenience Retailer for Customer Service Award at the him! Convenience Tracking Programme Awards.