Palmer & Harvey has launched a Price Match initiative that promises its base pricing will be as cheap as any cash & carry for the top 600 branded products.

The wholesaler will check the prices in competitors’ cash and carry depots on an ongoing basis and update its price list weekly to match or beat those available elsewhere. At the same time, it has launched an availability guarantee so that if one of the top 600 lines is out of stock, the retailer will get it free next time.

The top 600 brands account for more than 55% of a typical retailer’s non-tobacco sales, P&H explained.

Marketing director Richard Hayhoe said: “We want to dispel the myth that cash and carries are cheaper than P&H, and our customers can be absolutely assured that they will not be disadvantaged by ordering through us. We were really competitive anyway, but we have responded where our prices were a little out. For example, Smirnoff vodka is now £7 a case cheaper.”

P&H has calculated that it costs retailers an average of £2,515 per year to shop regularly in a cash and carry, based on staff time, fuel and vehicle costs, and the loss of cash flow from not having the 14 days’ credit associated with a delivered service. The opportunity cost of management time spent away from the store is a further £2,345, P&H argued.

Commercial director Martyn Ward said: “Next year is going to be hugely challenging for consumers and the trade, and we believe that we’re giving retailers every opportunity to be competitive. We haven’t made it clear in the past, but from now on we will change the perception that delivered wholesale is more expensive. We would ask retailers to consider where is your time best spent - walking around the aisles of a cash and carry, or staying in your shop developing your business?”