Essex retailer Khalil Khawaja has disputed Nisa Loco’s proposition that its package is designed for small stores, because he claims he would not be able to reach the minimum drops of 175 cases of ambient and 100 chilled/frozen split over three deliveries per week.

Khalil, who runs 950sq ft Westcliff News at Westcliff-on-Sea, is currently a Costcutter member and says he has an arrangement in place which spreads Costcutter’s minimum of 200 cases ambient and 100 cases chilled/frozen over a fortnight.

“I’ve been a member of Costcutter for seven years and I have never been able to reach their weekly mimimum.”

His turnover is £7/8k per week, but he says he knows other Costcutter retailers with much higher turnovers who also struggle to hit minimum targets.

I put these points to Loco, and retail development director Raj Krishan replied: “Loco was designed very much with smaller stores of less than 1,000sq ft in mind. The minimum drop for Loco stores is 175 cases of ambient, which includes tobacco, and 100 of chilled/frozen split over three drops (that averages out at 33 cases of chilled per drop) - this ensures freshness for products which include bread, milk, morning goods and fruit and vegetables.

“We recognise that the chilled category can be difficult, but it can also be very profitable for the retailer and we do all we can to find the best possible solutions for these challenges. We wouldn’t expect everyone to achieve this from day one, but would hope that with the help of Nisa/Loco’s member support team and its on-the-road retail and fresh food development managers, that very soon they would be comfortably meeting the delivery criteria.

“We see our relationship with retailers as collaborative we want them to see Loco as the only choice for a smaller store and we want to see them succeed. We commit to working closely with the retailer and offer a range of benefits that includes free paperless subscription, a free fascia and store imagery, and a loyalty rebate scheme which can see monies raised to contribute to store improvements.

“We also offer free POS and leaflets, competitive promotions, a trusted own-label range and our Making A Difference Locally charity which is a fantastic way of helping the community.”

He did not want to comment on other groups’ distribution agreements, but concluded: “When you take the above into consideration, the tools are there with Nisa/Loco to really drive footfall and build sales in a supportive environment, which will hopefully then see the minimum drops become more than manageable.”

He added: “If anyone is still undecided, however, as to whether this is the right route for them, we would be only too happy to talk to them about how we can help.”