Today’s Group has announced plans to grow retail club members from 1600 to 2000 and symbol stores to 500 over the next year at its annual conference in Rome this week.
Managing director Bill Laird said that while the market place is shrinking, the convenience sector has grown by 14% since 2009, symbol has grown by 18% and unaffiliated stores have declined by 5%. “Wholesalers are raising their game,” he said.
Today’s has just over 400 symbol group retailers, up 14% compared with the previous year, despite removing a few members that did not meet the required standards.
Retail director John Kinney said that the convenience market has grown 5% in the past year and that 75% of retailers are optimistic about the trading year ahead. “That’s a great opportunity for wholesalers.”
Own-label was also reported to be performing particularly well for Today’s, which plans to expand its offering to between 180-200 lines over the next twelve months.
Other key announcements at the annual event, titled Carpe Diem which translates as ‘seize the day’, included the launch of a transactional app from Today’s largest member Musgrave.
First-time speaker Noel Keeley, managing director of the Northern-Ireland based group said: “The new app will enable retailers to order all their usual products online using a barcode on their smart phone.” Orders will be delivered the next day if placed before 4pm.
The app is currently being trialled with 20 retailers and will help businesses to save money by removing the cost of a hand-held scanner.
Today’s Group also launched an industry-first events app at the conference, offering easy access to the group’s events through smart phones and tablets. The app will next be available for the Annual Stoneleigh Exhibition and Awards Dinner on April 8-9.
Summarising the conference, Bill Laird said, “Let’s take what we’ve learnt in Rome to the UK. Let’s talk about new opportunities for mutual benefit, and let’s ‘seize the day’.”