Today’s Group’s members Dhamecha, HT Drinks, United Wholesale, Elbrook and J W Filshill have endured tough trading conditions to maintain their positions as top 30 wholesalers in the UK.
Managing director of Today’s Group Bill Laird (pictured) said: “This is a great indicator of the resilience and long-term commitments of our wholesalers to the independent sector. I am delighted there are also further Today’s members just bubbling under the top 30, whom I expect to see appear on the list in the near future.”
The group’s largest UK-based member Dhamecha, reported sales of £585m, up 3.6% from the previous year, helping the London-based cash & carry to maintain its position at number 13.
“Industry experts warned a few years ago that the rise of the delivered wholesaler would see the demise of the cash & carry”, said Laird, but Dhamecha and others have proved the marketplace wrong. “The business has grown by understanding then meeting their customers’ needs and making this a priority at all levels within their organisation.”
Mitcham-based Elbrook Cash & Carry moved up a place to 27 after reporting sales of £143m, up 10% compared with the previous year.
The wholesaler was last year announced 40th in the Sunday Times International Track 200, which ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest growing international sales.
According to Laird, differentiation will become increasingly important for wholesalers looking to grow for the long-term and a great many Today’s members, are ahead of the pack: “The really good operators keep investing into their businesses, refurbishing, expanding, diversifying but most importantly, staying relevant to their customers in an ever evolving marketplace.”
United Wholesale grows by almost 10%
Meanwhile, on-trade specialist HT Drinks reported solid sales of £222m and Scotland’s United Wholesale hit £203m, with growth of almost 10%, helping both wholesalers to maintain their strong performances and positions at 18th and 19th, respectively. “These organisations operate in highly competitive regions of the UK but their single-minded approach to differentiation from their respective competitors continues to pay dividends”, said Laird.
Despite a number of significant challenges, delivered wholesale member JW Filshill, ranked 23rd is in good shape to grow in the coming years. While it invested an amount of margin for the benefit of its customers, the impact of a number of bad debt customers had a significant adverse effect on profitability in the last 12 months. Laird said: “The business is already well advanced with plans and new developments which will make it both stronger and more highly efficient in 2014 and beyond”.
For Today’s Group retailers, the news is also very positive: “Our members customers have aligned themselves to wholesalers that are resilient, forward-thinking and who will be around for the long term. They really understand and respond to the challenges retailers face in the day to day running of their businesses,” said Laird.
The on street retail industry must stay ahead of the game, things can change overnight and bring the on street retail experience to a grinding halt with innovative and imaginative ideas for home delivery which customers will eventually lock into,fads and fashions have a habit of changing behavior quickly and permanently these days. As technology changes and makes out and about shopping experiences almost virtual at home shopping online a reality its fair to say that things could turn very quickly as technology advances at super speed. I suspect the old price fixing days of cooperation in the back scratching market will be pulverized as groups break away offering rock bottom prices for home delivery with all the environmental polluting infrasructure becoming a thing of the past – Amazon style home delivery in retail, never say never.