Rowland Craven, who runs Craven Stores in Halifax, West Yorkshire and who is also on the Yorkshire Independent Grocers’ Association Council, is calling for a campaign to crack what he labels ‘the cartel’ on cigarette pricing.
“You can’t get unpriced at the cash and carry,” he says, “and margins have gone down to 5%. With lower margins on phone top-ups, the high cost of fuel and wages, the new licensing costs – what are we supposed to do?”
He trades on a little terraced housing estate. “In 16 years of retailing I’ve never known it so bad. The government thinks we’re a bottomless pit.”
Rowland believes the independent needs 20% as a minimum margin on groceries and 10% on cigarettes.
Question is: is anyone other than the independent trade listening?