Dan Cock of Whitstone Stores in Devon warned suppliers that they would “see a reduction in spend if we take our eye off this ever-changing sector”.
Sales in Dan’s alcohol section rose by 20% after advice from the Federation of Wholesale Distributors’ scheme, which came to an end last year.
“They visited my store and offered me unbiased, non-preferential advice to ensure I was offering and indeed getting the best from my off licence section,” Dan told C-Store. “We learned to group products logically, position key lines, offer a good choice of chilled stock and keep the shelves looking as full and well-presented as possible.
“The in-store support meant that we, and many others, saw our off licence become one of the most profitable areas of the business, and I am concerned what we are to do next.”
Dan suggested that the money spent by suppliers on “endless phone calls from call centres just to check which lines we stock, or the tidal wave of POS material which ends up costing the retailer money to dispose of” could be better spent in talking to retailers and understanding significant and changing trends in the independent sector.
He added: “Has anybody asked the supermarkets if their marketing support and budget have been cut?”