One consequence of the pandemic has been demonstrating the crucial role independent retailers play in keeping consumers supplied with their everyday essentials.

This places an onus on wholesalers to educate suppliers on the importance of the independent retail channel within the food supply chain.

Bestway provides its symbol group members with cutting edge technology and access to expert business development managers to help them grow their business.

Mike Hollis, Retail Director at Bestway, tells Wholesale Manager what are the biggest developments in wholesale right now and his plans to grow the business this year.

Anand Cheema has joined Costcutter. Is this part of a wider trend of retailers moving to Costcutter? How many have moved over since Bestway bought the brand?

Over the last six months, we’ve attracted over 150 new retailers to the joined-up Bestway Retail offering.

How many retailers currently trade under the Costcutter fascia?

We currently have over 1500 retailers operating under the Costcutter fascia with more joining on a regular basis.

Is there a target to grow that number?

Absolutely – we are very keen to build on our already strong numbers and provide retailers with one of the sector’s most attractive propositions. Joining Bestway Retail and trading under the Costcutter and Best-one fascia is free, and comes with a range of benefits tailored to help retailers grow their business.

Is the Co-op/Costcutter supply agreement still in place? How long is that deal set to run?

The supply agreement is still in place and currently runs until 2026. We know just how important the Co-op/Nisa supply contract is to our retailers and the value of the Co-op own brand range and are pleased to have this agreement in place for the next four years.

Will the other CSG brands – Mace, Supershop, Kwiksave, and Simply Fresh – remain a part of the Bestway estate? Does Bestway need so many symbol group brands given that it already has Best-One, Bargain Booze, Wine Rack, Select Convenience and Central Convenience?

All CSG brands will remain part of the Bestway Retail estate and we have no plans to remove any symbol group brands.

Bestway recently announced a store within a store concept where Best-one or Costcutter retailers can open a franchised Bargain Booze section within their shop. How is the concept progressing so far?

This is an exciting development, and we launched our pilot store earlier this month with an additional two planned to launch later this quarter. The concept of adding Bargain Booze to a C-Store as it gives retailers access to the market’s leading alcohol proposition, but we will need to spend time analysing the data from our pilot stores before progressing it further in earnest.

What are the biggest developments in wholesale at the moment?

The pandemic really shined a light on the vital importance of local and independent retailers when it comes to providing access to the everyday essentials that consumers need. While the supposed ‘death of the High Street’ has oft been reported, convenience stores remain in high demand. It is therefore critical that wholesalers spend time educating manufacturers and suppliers on the benefits of this channel and the role it plays in the UK’s overall food supply chain. Consumers recognise the value of the independent market so wholesalers must continue to highlight the important role that independents play to their suppliers.

From a Bestway perspective, we need to continue to secure our supply chains and navigate the external and inflationary pressures that the entire industry is facing.

How is Bestway performing as a business overall? Is turnover growing?

We’re performing really well and have the opportunity to continue to grow and drive momentum into the near future.

What are your plans to grow the business over the coming year?

We’re continuing our push to sign up more independents across the UK by highlighting the benefits they get when joining a single group, and we have demonstrated that we can accommodate every type of independent retailer. As the country’s leading independent wholesaler, we offer market-leading technology, access to expert business development managers and a suite of tools designed to boost the success and profitability of our retailers. Through Bestway, retailers can access the great value of Bestway’s Wholesale division, have access to the market’s leading own-brand proposition, access to the market’s leading alcohol proposition and access to our Cash and Carry network nationwide.

We’re also continuing to foster our strong relationship with Iceland, where we are the main supplier for specific categories and have proved that we have the range and access required to help stores of all sizes thrive.


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