What can Sugro offer wholesalers?

Fast facts

Group buying power £1.1bn

Biggest member O’Reilly’s Wholesale Limited

Number of members 86

Latest members Seafresh Wholesale Distributors, Europa Brands, Extreme Systems, Southeast Traders and Rangeplus

Neil Turton
Neil Turton, managing director, Sugro

What is your unique selling point?

Sugro is focused on impulse categories – confectionery, soft drinks, crisps and snacks. Our unique selling point is to be the best at those. Best means the keenest process and promotions and greatest expertise. As a group of around 80 wholesalers, we also like to pride ourselves on being closest to our members and have one-to-one relationships with them. The thing most people say about Sugro is its real family feel, which enables members to thrive, and is well-liked by suppliers.

What has been your most significant achievement over the past 12 months?

After a year of transition in 2017/18, I have now been Sugro’s managing director for a year. We have a new strategy and have grown the membership. 

Sugro members feel settled and confident about the future. The main achievement has been to put the foundations in place for Sugro’s future as a successful, but independent, buying and marketing group.

How have you expanded and attracted new members over the past 12 months?

The new strategy has attracted more members and has helped to retain them as well. We have also diversified into a broader product offering, which now includes grocery and licensed products, while keeping our impulse categories as a unique selling point.

We have strengthened the Sugro brand, image and social media presence so Sugro now has a higher profile and is more visible.

What category support do you provide to members?

We provide national and individual marketing leaflets and an increasing digital offer, from ecommerce systems to product marketing. Plus, the usual full range of product and category advice. Our business development team works with members on a personalised plan to help members get the most out of their membership.

What are your plans to help members over the next 12 months?

We plan to increase business development support and create one-to-one plans with each of our members to help them be more successful wholesalers. We plan to expand our digital strategy and enable all members to be able to transact with ecommerce.

Online training initiative launched

In March this year, Sugro announced an online training programme for its members, in partnership with Bolt Learning. It will give members access to interactive modules covering a range of topics, from GDPR and health and safety, to business development skills.

“Sugro is committed to ensuring our members have all the training and support they need,” says Turton. “We are delighted to launch this new and exciting online training programme for 2019.”

What are the biggest challenges for your members over the next 12 months?

The environment isn’t easy for independent wholesalers. Costs are rising and consolidation means they are facing bigger and stronger competitors. Supplier product availability is something we are always fighting the members’ corner on. There are lots of challenges, but as a specialist group, we are focused on helping wholesalers feel confident to invest in their own businesses, knowing Sugro is there to support them.

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Paul Hill
Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. Paul can be found on Twitter on @BW_PaulHill, or can be contacted via paul.hill@newtrade.co.uk and 020 7689 3376.

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