As the fallout from the switch to the new Costcutter buy and supply system continues, members are becoming increasingly impatient with the ongoing issues, despite signs of improvement in recent weeks.

The switch has been characterised by cancelled orders, poor availability, out-of-date stock and problems with scheduling and credit notes, with regional managers forced to hire vans to purchase stock from local cash and carries to help fulfil members’ orders.

One retailer, who asked not to be named, told C-Store: “It’s really not great. P&H are getting the blame, but it’s not all their fault: they are just the wheels. A lot of it is down to the BuyCo and Costcutter management not sending out the right information.

“Costcutter have got to fix this, or it’s got to go. A lot of members have been loyal to the brand but it’s costing us too much money now.”

West Midlands retailer Chaz Chahal, who is on Costcutter’s retailer board, told C-Store he had seen an improvement in the last two weeks, with no more cancelled orders.

“Timing and availability are not where they should be, but I look at it from the point of view that I used to get one Nisa ambient delivery a week, and now I get three, so even if some lines are missing I still get three bites of the cherry.

“Last year Nisa struggled during the hot weather and you could only get one delivery per week. Having smaller, more frequent deliveries is definitely the way forward for the sector.”

Costcutter CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer said improvements were being seen following the opening of two new P&H’s depots, but admitted that “the current availability levels for some products is not what our retailers expect and we continue to work with Palmer and Harvey and our suppliers to rectify this”.