The effect of Covid-19 has had a variety of positive and negative implications on wholesalers. Certain foodservice companies are struggling to survive, whereas convenience distributors have seen their profits sore. Confex is a buying group that works across both of these and always in the process of welcoming new members at a time when the industry needs to come together more than ever.
Managing director Tom Gittins spoke to Better Wholesaling about the latest news at Unitas and what the future holds for the buying group:
What is your unique selling point?
It is completely free for wholesalers to join Confex as members. This then gives them access to more than 200 suppliers and what was over 2,000 promotions in 2019. As well as this, we offer a free tailored app to our members that can be used on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Lastly, we also run an annual trade show, which features over 80 suppliers.
What has been your most significant achievement over the past 12 months?
We have moved to a truly co-operative model whereby members share in Confex profits. We continue to evolve with 55 new members joining since the start of 2019. Confex remains a buying group run by the members for the members, offering support for all types of independent wholesalers.
Read more: Confex reopens Central Distribution Centre
What are the biggest challenges for your members over the next 12 months?
The wholesale sector continues to consolidate while suppliers continue to review their cost to serve. This means it will be harder for smaller independent wholesalers to trade directly with big brands.
Now is the time for wholesalers to ensure they are in the buying group that offers them the best value and support. Confex continues to welcome new members, so please get in contact if this is of interest to your business.
How have you expanded and attracted new members over the past 12 months?
2019 was a big year for Confex. I took over as managing director and Martin Williams became chairman. As well as this, we appointed Jon Burton as trading director, alongside a new trading team of Matt Norman (see last month’s Better Wholesaling, p35) and Simon King.
We also launched a new Member Market Place – an area on the website where members can trade between each other. Our members now also receive a monthly sample box full of NPD.