Booker Reports Strong Growth in Sales – What is the Impact of this on the Wholesale Market?

Booker last week reported good sales growth over the  quarter, with Non-Tobacco like-for-like sales up 3.1 percent for the quarter. Sales growth for all stores including the Makro stores was 0.1% up on the same period last year, for the 12 weeks to 12th September 2014 – a pretty solid result.

However, Makro endured a 10.8% decline in its sales for the quarter, as it disposed of its unprofitable categories.

Shares in the company were up 4.5% to 121.5pence on morning on trading after the announcement and continue to trade well at 123.55 pence by the end of last week (26th September).

What does this mean for the wholesale market as a whole? Has Booker taken share from the other wholesale players? Or is this the result of real growth in the market, as a result of more convenience stores being opened?

The number of convenience stores, bars, restaurants, kitchens and caterers in this country has largely stayed consistent at around 450,000. There hasn’t been significant growth in the number of convenience stores which is the largest customer base of Booker and the largest part of the market with approximately 250,000 independent convenience stores in the UK today. Thus, the growth comes largely as a result of an improved offering which existing customers find very attractive.

The Makro acquisition has added sales to the Booker group, as well as enhanced synergies from added purchasing power etc. However, as it was already a loss making business before the acquisition, there is still a lot to do by reducing the categories which are loss making e.g. electrical, fashion etc. and so we can expect to see further improvements in profitability over the coming quarters too. By focusing on their core customer group and market lines Booker will be able to improve the supply chains in those areas.

By consistently delivering high levels of customer service and competitive pricing levels of promotions on the key product lines, Booker looks set to continue its strong performance under the leadership of Charles Wilson, Booker CEO.

ITP Analytics Launch

After many months of research, programming and data gathering, we launched the Improve That Price Analytics online reports. The report provides users with live data on the Foodservice Wholesale and Cash & Cary market. These reports can be viewed by category, brand or type. The data can also be filtered to show only the Price Marked, Promotions or the Multi-buys. The site also features the price history of products, is very user friendly and you can have a two weeks free trial at  improvethatprice.com/analytics. For further information email Faisal on faisal@improvethatprice.com.

Improve That Price Analytics

This week, after many months of research, programming and data gathering, we are launching the Improve That Price Analytics online reports.

The report provides users with live data on the Foodservice Wholesale and Cash & Cary market. These reports can be viewed by category, brand or type. The data can also be filtered to show only the Price Marked, Promotions or the Multi-buys.

The site also features the price history of products, is very user friendly and you can have a two weeks free trial at  improvethatprice.com/analytics.

If further information is required then please email Faisal on faisal@improvethatprice.com.

 

Improve That Price, in short.

Improve That Price was launched in January 2012.

It has three directors and the current team consists of five people split into programming, marketing, finance, data management and public relations.

There are 17,128 listed products and  this number is increasing daily.

On average users can save approximately 7%.

Improve That Price will shortly be launching its Analytics tool giving live price updates on all drink products helping the food service industry and manufactures understand pricing strategies of their customers.

Users can now track their favourite products and receive email alerts whenever the price drops.

Users can also leave a review for suppliers helping others users decide who to order from.

There is currently no other price comparison site for the catering industry.

There have been several articles written about Improve That Price http://improvethatprice.com/press.php.

 

Why use Improve That Price!

We have been speaking to many users of improvethatprice.com with the aim of better understanding how and why they use the site and if they have any comments and suggestions. This feedback is crucial to continuously improve the site and the user experience.

For many users it is not just about the savings but also the reliability and stock availability of a supplier but of course the price has to be right too. For this reason we introduced the ‘Supplier Reviews’, where users write a review of the supplier and therefore help other users make a decision as to where best to buy from.

A lot of very positive feedback was given to the ‘comparison basket’ where users are able to add different products and then compare an entire basket against a range of foodservice suppliers and cash & carry’s.

Time saving was also mentioned by many as users no longer need to go through different sites to compare suppliers as all the information needed is now available in one place.

Since we introduced the ‘Price Tracker’ which sends an email alerts to users who sign up to it every time a price for a particular item drops, more people are signing up to it and the popularity is growing rapidly.

Some of the feedback we received was that there are some suppliers missing from our list and that our Cleaning & Hygiene and Packaging categories lack products for a comparison. These are issues we are aware of and are working on.

If you don’t ask (compare) you won’t know!

After discussing the title of this blog with several users of Improve That Price, it appears to be correct to say that you will only know if you ask or, in this case, compare whether or not you are given the best possible deal.

It would seem perfectly normal to ask the people you work with and supply you, and you depend on,  if you are being given the best possible prices. I understood from my discussions however that not everyone feels comfortable asking these questions especially with people they’ve had a longterm relationship with as it could appear to suggest that there was a lack of trust.

Some users felt that they preferred to avoid confrontation and just continued to pay the full price as it was the easy choice.

Improve That Price has helped businesses in many different ways and this is another example why it pays to compare.

I am frequently asked whether we will ever charge for the service we provide and I always reply the same, Improve That Price will always be free for users!

How useful is a price comparison site for a catering business?

Whether a business is new or has been trading for many years, management trying to make sure the operation runs smoothly is often to busy to ensure that the prices they are getting are the best and often rely and assume that their longterm suppliers are giving them the best deals. This, however, is not always the case and until now it has been very time consuming looking through suppliers websites or calling up when you don’t have a relationship or account with a particular supplier.

Improve That Price is the first price comparison site for the catering industry aiming to make the catering industry more transparent and reducing the time and effort it takes to compare the same products from a range of suppliers and cash & carry’s.

Improve That Price is continuously updated as prices and offers are constantly changing we search the web for the best offers for our users.

The ‘Special Offers‘ page is extremely popular and will be expanding to soon also include catering equipment, packaging and cleaning & hygiene products.
Its great to see that supply companies seem to be competing for some of the most popular products as they are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that more and more users are coming to ITP and are comparing them, unlike before, with ease.
Improve That Price is already having an effect in reducing prices for business and helping make the wholesale catering industry more transparent.
A price comparison site for the catering industry is a very useful tool to have!

Are SME’s the backbone of the economy?

In 2013 there were an estimated 4.9 million businesses in the UK which employed 24.3 million people, and had a combined turnover of £3,300 billion. SMEs accounted for 99.9 per cent of of all private sector businesses in the UK, 59.3 per cent of private sector employment and 48.1 per cent of private sector turnover. SMEs employed 14.4 million people and had a combined turnover of £1,600 billion and small businesses alone accounted for 47 per cent of private sector employment and 33.1 per cent of turnover.

SME’s are the driver of the economy and will ultimately lead the country out of the recession. It is therefore essential to ensure that they are not forced out of business by the ever growing multi nationals such as supermarkets.

Local councils could tighten the rules on granting planning permission to the local supermarkets but that would probably face a lot of opposition.

The better option would be to inform business owners of various ways to cut their cost and become more competitive and profitable.

Improve That Price is a free tool that gives users the ability to compete with the bigger players by comparing their own wholesale suppliers and choosing the ones that offer the best all round deal. On average users can save 7%.

To improve the COS by 7% can make a massive difference to any business.

It does seems clear that SME’s are the backbone of the economy.

Post Xmas update.

Now that Christmas is over it is interesting to briefly review the busiest time of the year for the catering industry and see what the most popular products were. I know how much food and drink gets consumed as this time of year and I do feel like I was single handedly responsible for the rise in food and drink consumption.

2013’s number 1, in terms of most searched for on improvethatprice.com, was Red Bull. No. 2 Coca Cola, 3 Peroni Nastro Azzuro Beer, 4 Diet Coke and 5 Jack Daniels.

In addition we launched a new Knorr soup on behalf of Unilever Food Solutions which has proven to be very successful and we have lots of requests for free samples.

We are also about to launch a new cheese on behalf of another one of our partners and I will blog about it once this has gone live.

We are very excited about 2014 and wish you all a very happy, healthy and successful one.

Happy New Year

 

The Improve That Price Team

 

Are price comparison sites good for business?

A recently published article in an industry publication, Better Wholesaling, discussed the effects Improve That Price and other similar sites could have on the wholesale market. Although many wholesalers are in favour of a site that will compare them, there are some who suggested that they were concerned that a site such as improvethatprice.com could not accurately compare them as they have different prices for different customers especially customers who buy in volume.

This, however, is one of the reasons improvethatprice.com was set up initially, to give smaller businesses, such as the local corner shop, an opportunity to buy at the same prices as the larger ones, the Tesco local etc.

All suppliers compared on improvethatprice.com are compared accurately and objectively as the site is 100% independent and will remain independent.

It is true that it is not all just about the price from a wholesaler but also down to service, deliveries and availability of products. The customers must therefore ensure that they buy where they get the best deal for themselves using improvethatprice.com as a tool assisting them in making and informed decision and leaving feedback on the site to help future users in choosing the right supplier.

A comparison site for the catering industry, or any industry for that matter, creates transparency and competitiveness on a wide scale with benefits for the wider economy.