Things are looking better at Nisa these days after a financially ropey period last year.
The mainly new senior management team were in good spirits at the annual Stoneleigh exhibition last week, as they shared news of profitable growth and a firm foundation for future activity. And it was interesting to hear that most of the organisation’s activity – whether it is case pricing, promotions, distribution or member recruitment – is going to be increasingly based on hard facts and a steely focus on market realities in future.
Discipline for Nisa. It’s worth a try, I suppose. But, more seriously, there is a general move towards greater realism, professionalism and, yes, discipline across the entire convenience sector. Prices are deflated, costs are rising and retail is in over-supply, so only the leanest and most efficient will survive. And while most operators in the market are still looking to open more stores, a market landscape with many more stores overall is looking unsustainable in the long term, so I’m expecting a bit of a backwash with some high-profile store closures in the next months and years.
With this in mind, I think it’s time for everyone in the market, from the smallest store to the largest distributor, to stay in touch with reality.