BW: What is the unique selling point of Today’s Group?
JS: Our strength is in our numbers, with 145 independent wholesale members operating nationwide through 186 sites. Because of this, we can negotiate excellent deals on their behalf with suppliers across core grocery, licensed, impulse, on-trade, foodservice and specialist areas. Our wholesale members can then pass the deals onto their retail customers.
How has Today’s expanded and attracted new members over the past year?
We cover all sectors of the industry, and offer prospective members a vast range of knowledge and experience, with expertise in retail, wholesale and supplier sectors. We promote strong national and Today’s Retail Club/symbol promotional activity that covers 17 periods per year, supported by brochure and in-depot point-of-sale activity.
In addition, we constantly strive to evolve and better our capabilities to provide members with the most up-to-date information, working hard to develop tools to support members’ businesses.
How has Today’s developed members’ businesses?
We work closely to help and support them in growing their businesses through various activities. In the past 12 months, our business development team has worked closely with SK Food & Drinks, which recently moved its operation to a new, purpose-built site in Birmingham. Planning and re-laying the depot into specific categories to meet the needs of foodservice, on-trade and retail customers has helped customers to easily locate the products they are looking for.
What impact has the support you have provided had on your wholesale members’ businesses?
Increasing the number of good-quality symbol and retail stores increases footfall into members’ depots, therefore improving overall sales and profit for our members.
What category support does Today’s provide to members?
2016/17 saw the Plan for Profit app launch, to provide members’ customers with a range of tools. These include a deal thread to highlight promotional activity in the depot, a cash and percentage profit on return calculator, and a wholesaler locator. A link to the Plan for Profit website provides access to extensive information, including core range and planograms.
What has been Today’s most significant achievement for its members over the past year?
The increased number of benefits that are now available, such as the Plan for Profit app.
What does Today’s plan to do in the next year to ensure that members get the service and added-value they need?
We shall continue to work with our supplier partners to attain the greatest benefits for our members. We will also continue to provide a series of networking opportunities in the form of our annual conference, trade show and foodservice speed dating events.
We will also explore whether our established activities in particular channels can potentially work successfully across other channels of the organisation to the benefit of our members.
What will be the biggest challenge Today’s Group members face this year?
The continuing strong competition from the hard discounters and convenience formats of the multiples will be a challenge to overcome. In addition, we have to remain vigilant of factors such as Brexit, National Living Wage rises, evolving technologies and the continued increase in the number of customers shopping online. We will work with our members to keep them up-to-date in terms of industry legislation, and to offer advice and guidance through a number of means.
What are the latest announcements from Today’s?
At year-end, the group’s figures stand at value up 4.8% and volume up 4% – based on suppliers with central trading agreements sales to members. This has been helped by strong performances in the grocery, impulse, licensed and foodservice sectors.
Today’s Group Fast Facts
Name of largest member: Dhamecha Foods
Buying power: £5.7bn
Number of members: 145
Number of combined sites: 186
Biggest foodservice member: Holdsworth Foods