Today's Group managing director Bill Laird has outlined a positive vision of the future of the group and the wholesale industry despite the challenging times.

Speaking to Convenience Store shortly after the group's Suppliers and Members Forum earlier this month, Laird said he was encouraged by members' "very strong" sales and volume growth of 9% in the year to date.

"Impulse snacks and drinks are selling particularly well as more people are grazing on the move, and with 'the staying in is the new going out' routine still with us, wine sales are also up," he said. "However, price still remains key, so £4.99 price points are very popular, and £6.99 is also gaining ground as consumers want to be careful, but still treat themselves."

Outlining the group's emerging priorities for 2011 and beyond, Laird said that there would be further development of the Today's retail symbol and expansion of its Retail Club activity. It would also focus on growing its membership base by highlighting what he called the "significant benefits" to members, now that its brand marketing strategy had been revamped and strengthened.

Initiatives such as its Plan for Profit scheme to help wholesalers and retailers promote and stock best-selling products, would also be a draw, he added.