Musgrave Retail Partners GB is “absolutely committed” to turning around the business and has no plans to sell Budgens and Londis, managing director Peter Ridler told C-Store this week.
Describing his vision for Budgens, he said: “We want shoppers to think ‘this is where I’d go to treat myself’. It’s about posh nosh for the masses and celebrating food.”
He urged Budgens retailers to replicate the revamped company-owned ‘laboratory’ store in Broadstone, Dorset, which stocked more than 400 local lines. “The 5% flexibility allows retailers to add that local point of difference, and it’s our job to do better with dry grocery.”
Ridler also admitted that the SuperValu own brand offered mixed messages, with the packaging potentially betraying the quality of the product. “There’s a way to go with the branding, but once people get over it they think it’s an incredible product. We need to position it better for consumers.”
Ridler added that Musgrave had “started to engage” with Budgens retailers who were approaching the end of their 10-year term, while pledging to improve its proposition to retailers.
He acknowledged that some Budgens retailers had concerns over margins, as it is “for any partnership, but it’s high on our agenda”.
Musgrave Group chief executive Chris Martin added: “Sometimes complaints over margins are justified, sometimes they’re not. It’s about balance, you don’t it right without both sides working. We need to work harder at allowing retailers to get the basics right, then they can bring the shop to life.”
On Londis, Ridler conceded that mistakes had led to “unprofitable sales which were unsustainable”, resulting in a Londis brand that was not executed well enough.
Addressing the recent departure of high profile Londis retailers to One Stop, he said: “Any competitor is a challenge we need to take seriously. One Stop takes over pricing and ranging, but with us you take and shape your offer for your customer.”
He said 60 new Londis stores had opened this year. “We want to work with loyal retailers, who want to work in a partnership way. There’s a pipeline of activity which will slowly build.”