IT’S a good time if you are a retailer with some cash to spend and you’re looking for a bargain, especially in Glasgow, reckons Bestway Batleys Wholesale’s regional controller in Scotland David Livingstone.
The firm has done well in recent years north of the border, moving into areas where it hadn’t previously traded, developing a distinct Scottish offer, he said.
Most recently it had bought, significantly extended and relaunched the former Sher Brothers depot, just south of Glasgow city centre. It’s ready to compete in a traditionally competitive wholesale and cash & carry scene in Scotland’s biggest city. But he reckons it’s never been more competitive than now.
“The national brochures that the different companies put out are competitive themselves,” he said.
“But there are bursts of activity over seven-day periods, or maybe four days over a weekend, with keen deals on many of the major Scottish market products.”
Sales for Batleys in Scotland are up in its first quarter and, in such a competitive market and at a time of food price deflation, he reckons that’s quite a good result.
And he’s pleased at how the firm is progressing with its overall strategy north of the border, with what he sees as good outcomes in partnership working and technological advances.
“Cash & carry is very important to us, in some ways it is the bread and butter,” he said.
“But we’ve put a lot of effort into developing our symbol operation through Bestway Direct and our retail club Xtra Local. And that’s doing well.
“We’ve learned a lot and we have a far better offering now that we have our Scottish office based at Bellevue in Edinburgh and we have great Scottish deals that add value to our national deals.
“The numbers are good and continue to grow.
“Online ordering is good and we’ve developed a smartphone app that has been very well-received, especially by the younger generation of retailers.
“We offer click and deliver or click and collect. The system is very user-friendly and it will evolve.
“And as well as retail we now have a number of other elements to the business in Scotland including foodservice and delivered drinks. With Scotland buzzing this year, those have done well.”