Warming up for winter sales – Welcome to the Winter 2011 issue of Wholesale Manager

A warm welcome to the Winter 2011 Wholesale Manager! The newest publication for decision makers in the UK wholesale and cash & carry industry is now one year old. As you know, we publish Wholesale Manager in print and on-line, so you can catch up on industry developments wherever you are.

In these pages you’ll find a wealth of information on products and services relevant to the day-to-day running of wholesale and cash & carry businesses, making Wholesale Manager a ‘must read’ for everyone in the wholesale and cash & carry sector.

Don’t miss our features on Household Cleaning, Ethnic Food and Drink and Snacking. A raft of food and drink products are at different stages in the transition from ‘incoming ethnic’ to mainstream crossover. All represent a major profit opportunity for Britain’s Cash ‘n’ Carries and delivered wholesalers, who are well placed to capitalise on the continuing growth in ethnic food and drink. Many of our most successful Cash ‘n’ Carries have historic links to the neighbourhood stores in the communities they serve, but now also serve caterers, cafes, pubs and the whole spectrum of other retailers who buy from wholesalers.

Twenty years ago, ‘snacks’ primarily meant crisps, snacks and nuts. Snack products can now be anything – fresh, frozen, chilled or ambient. Food products eaten as snacks – as opposed to main meals – are a mainstay of both the independent retail sector, and the Cash ‘n’ Carries and delivered wholesalers that supply them. A high proportion of snack purchases are impulse, quite separate from the planned grocery shop.

On a dark winter’s afternoon it seems unlikely, but as soon as the sun comes out consumers are driven to get out the polish and clean their house. The other big motivator is guests coming, which happens a lot at this time of year.

Consumers often buy household cleaning products from their neighbourhood store as a distress purchase, when they don’t want to drive to the supermarket for just one or two items. So think of Christmas/New Year cleaning sales as a major opportunity to clean up.

Considering the economy, the UK wholesale and cash & carry sector has done remarkably well in 2010, spurred on by the World Cup, bringing a welcome optimism which spilt over into impulse purchases of drinks, soft drinks, food, you name it, from independent retail outlets.

So what will 2011 bring? The 20% VAT rate will impact on sales of VAT-rated products, but we’re still below Denmark’s 25% VAT. In any case, people might not upgrade their TV in these times but will still spend on food and drink and non-food.

With petrol prices hitting a record average 121.8p a litre, shoppers will still want to treat themselves in 2011, but will shop more locally to use the car less, and will expect to find promotions in neighbourhood stores – all good opportunities for Cash ‘n’ Carries and delivered wholesalers.

As the Coalition cuts bite, we can also expect growth in community shops in poorer areas. The Op Shop in Harraby, Carlisle is the fifth in a chain run by the local Church of England as a way of reaching out to communities, and sells second hand clothing, furniture and household items. As faith communities of all kinds open more stores like these, the goods need to come from somewhere – which is where you, the UK’s wholesale managers come in.

Have a successful 2011.

James Surridge, Publishing Editor, Wholesale Manager

mail@wholesalemanager.net