BELLSHILL retailer Abdul Majid, became the latest president of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation last month.
He was officially installed at a special ceremony held at the c-store sector representative organisation’s special networking event and pre-Referendum debate that featured Scotland’s finance secretary John Swinney.
After receiving the chain of office from outgoing president Clydebank Co-op chief executive Robert Sider, Majid set out his early priorities in the role, highlighting government plans to act on the nation’s diet and nutrition and the growth of small format supermarkets from giant multiple grocers.
“The next major battle ground will be the government’s efforts to be seen to be doing something about obesity and retailers being ‘invited’ to remove all confectionery from the checkout area,” he said.
“And there’s the big one … competition, the aggressive expansion of the big mults into the convenience store sector.
“It’s little consolation but in a way this is a backhanded compliment – they know that convenience stores represent the future and that people want to shop locally, this is why they are making such a big investment in what has traditionally been our territory.
“We know that it’s a real challenge but in many ways raising standards is the only way to deal with this.
“We have to work together to make the most of our resources. There’s never been more reason to support SGF. Suppliers need the vital connection with retailers that membership of SGF brings and we all need a strong voice with government.”
And he started very quickly, engaging with first minister Alex Salmond at the event to mark the Coca-Cola’s plant’s 50 years in East Kilbride event and getting a commitment from him to meet with SGF to discuss key issues such as removing confectionery from till points.
He and SGF colleagues also met with Johann Lamont, leader of the Labour Party in Scotland and plan to talk more as that party develops policies.