Philip Jenkins

BW: What is Sugro’s unique selling point?

PJ: We are the UK’s largest impulse buying group, specialising in providing focused trading and tactical support services for wholesalers. We enhance commercial benefits for our wholesale members, and their retail, foodservice and leisure customers, by providing marketing and promotional support for free.

How has Sugro expanded and attracted new members in the past year?

Our impressive growth has primarily been achieved through our existing member companies, who have: used the commercial tools of the buying group; expanded their existing operations; opened new depots; and made new acquisitions.

Sugro continues to grow and has achieved 15 years of continuous increased turnover.

How has Sugro developed members’ businesses?

We have committed to members through a number of advancements. These include expanding retailer involvement in our retail club, which now encompasses more than 2,600 stores, and the launch of Sugro Online, which is now operated by 27 member companies.

We also stage beneficial feature promotions for customers, this year entitled ‘Money Back’ deals. This offers one retailer a chance to win £100 back against purchases from their Sugro wholesaler.

What impact has this had?

The exciting trading and member-support developments have enabled our members to increase turnover and maintain profitability in a very challenging marketplace.

What category support do you provide?

Our retail club includes stock ranging, merchandising and gap-fill advice services. This enables members to provide relevant support to their retail customers to assist material sales growth and supply-chain loyalty.

In addition, we have for many years made available on our website a ‘grow your sales’ section, which provides retailers with product and ranging information, merchandising units and advice.

Sugro also includes Acorn, a trading group that offers members trading terms and some regular product promotions, which members can feature as they wish. It is a stepping stone for very specialist and relatively small wholesalers to becoming full Sugro members.

What has been Sugro’s most significant achievement for its members over the past year?

Sugro Online. The future interaction for this sector will be online, and as Sugro Online is introduced to more members, the means to communicate and demonstrate deals and product information will be instantaneous. In addition, promotional personalisation, which gives members the opportunity to add local promotions, has proved to be a tremendous commercial boost.

What does Sugro plan to do over the next year to ensure that members get the service and added-value they need?

Primarily, the plan is to continue to accelerate the growth and effectiveness of recently-launched strategies, such as Sugro Online; newly-launched customer category promotional leaflets; and the continuation of one-to-one commercial development with members. The aim is to ensure the continued growth of the retailers in our retail club, and the variety and consumer appeal of its promotion programme.

What will be the biggest challenge your members face this year?

Continually increasing market competition and consolidation will challenge wholesalers to maintain sales and profitability. This will increase with the potential merger of Tesco and Booker. Rising wages, pension contributions and business rates will also place considerable pressure on wholesalers’ profitability and the performance of their customers.

We will strive to continue to work with our members and suppliers to improve prices and promotion terms, so that profitability is maintained.

Fast Sugro Facts

Name of the latest member: Premier Exports
Group buying power: £1.1bn
Number of members: 75
Number of depots operated by Sugro members: 77
Biggest member (for both retail, and for foodservice): Kitwave One


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