In an interview with Rob Lockley, trading director at Wrigley, Helena Drakakis learns about Wrigley’s plans to help wholesalers boost their sales this year.
Betterwholesaling: How has Wrigley helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?
Rob Lockley: Retailers like to follow a simple layout in-depot, and they are time-poor, so using brands to signpost layout is critical. We have been working with wholesalers on having well merchandised primary fixtures and also on building category displays on secondary, off-shelf fixtures. Where secondary displays sit varies by depot, but usually an aisle-end display is the best place and the next best is front-of-depot. We have also been building a range of pricemarked packs – in particular, Skittles, where we have extended our £1 range, as well as 49p on singles.
BW: What is the greatest challenge the industry faces?
RL: We have a very fast-selling line in gum, and also in Skittles and Starburst, and we know that retailers shop the category in under three minutes. If they cannot see it, they will not buy it from that wholesaler. We also know that retailers are highly promiscuous and they will go to around three different wholesalers in a four-week period, as well as online. Availability at the point of purchase is critical.
BW: What opportunities are emerging that wholesalers can take advantage of?
RL: Pricemarked packs are not an emerging trend – they are the rule of the game. We have now brought out pricemarked packs for gum, Skittles and Starburst at a variety of price points.
The other trend is that we are seeing more retailers move towards an online format. The wholesaler that cracks it will win the fastest. Over the past six months, we have been working with Bestway and Booker to improve their platforms, and using grocery sites or Amazon to show them how they need to display products online.
BW: What challenges has Wrigley had to overcome recently?
RL: To meet the availability challenge, we have got a third-party sales-force, as well as our own, who go out and build relationships.
We are going into Booker’s back office and helping them with the products that need to be off sale and on sale. We encourage them to follow planograms, and to put in bay branding that makes the operation clear and simple, that is merchandised in the right way, and that drives availability.
BW: What would you like to see happening in wholesale in the next 12 months?
RL: What I would love to see is a continuous, ruthless focus on availability. Whether that is online or whether that is in-depot, we are seeing more consolidation, which can bring supply chain issues and affect availability, so we need to face that.
I would also like to see better use of data to create better insight to drive better action. When you are a supplier, the best data results in the best decisions, but getting data from some wholesalers is a critical issue. An acceleration on that would be phenomenal.
BW: What was Wrigley’s greatest achievement last year?
RL: We had a tremendous launch on Skittles Tropical, which was well supported by the wholesale channel.
We followed that up with Doublemint Mints, which came in three formats: bottle, 12‑pack and hanging bags. Again, we put our field team behind that and drove distribution to the retailers.
BW: Are you planning any activity that wholesalers should be aware of?
We have just launched a limited edition Skittles Fruits and Sours, plus a Very Berry Starburst. We also have pricemarked packs on gum bottles in Bubblemint and Airwaves.
Rob Lockley is trading director at Wrigley.