As part of Better Wholesaling’s January cover feature on own-brand lines, Tan Parsons spoke to Hilary Nithsdale about Today’s Group’s range.
How is your own-label business performing?
Our own-label sales are up 51% compared with this time last year and we have some real stars, including our Select Rich Roast Instant Coffee Granules, price-marked at £1.49 for a 100g jar, which is selling really well. The recent launch of Today’s Select Milk Chocolate, price-marked at 59p for 100g, is a significant addition to our Today’s Select range and offers retailers an incredible 35% profit on return.
What new lines have you introduced or refreshed?
In May 2014, we re-launched our Amberdown Cider with new packaging and an improved taste in time for the ‘Summer of Sport’, which has now become one of our 10 best-selling lines. We’ve also invested in refreshing all our packaging in line with the new allergen regulations.
How will your own-label strategy help wholesalers grow sales in the next six months?
Consumers are still buying heavily into own-brand – they began doing so as an austerity measure when the recession first kicked in, but people are now starting to realise that own-brand lines have improved in quality and are helping them to make significant savings.
As the country begins to come out of the recession, consumers will still want to continue making those savings. For retailers, having a credible own-brand range has created a level playing field to help them to compete with the multiples.
How is your own-brand range helping wholesalers to grow sales?
One of our members, Glasgow-based United Wholesale, recently undertook a trial within its depot designed to help retailers in merchandising own-label lines in their store. It created a 3m gondola run, where products were taken out of their outer casing and displayed for retailers, and combined this with a dedicated Today’s own-label fixture, as well as featuring the products within the relevant category. It ended up seeing a significant uplift in sales.
How do you differentiate your own-label offering from other groups?
The majority of what we do is in-house. We source the products ourselves and are responsible for the quality control rather than handing it over to a third-party agency. I personally watch the first production of every line and crosscheck the first 20 cases against what’s been agreed. It’s critical for me to be this involved – that’s how we maintain such high standards.
Our customers’ opinions are important, so we use consumer panels to constantly check and benchmark the quality of our products.