03 Feb Imperial Cash & Carry hosts FWD’s Introduction to wholesale event
Today’s Group member Imperial Cash & Carry has hosted the latest Introduction to Wholesale event, an educational initiative launched by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD).
Newcomers from key brands including Ferrero and Premier Foods attended the free-of-charge session, which offers a crash-course into the ABC of wholesaling and is designed to highlight the opportunities available in the channel while closing the knowledge gap that exists with ‘fresh talent’ in the market.
FWD director of communications David Visick told attendees: “Wholesale is an exciting sector in growth – convenience retail alone is expected to grow by 29% over the next five years.” He added, “Our members have a collective turnover of £30bn – that makes wholesale your biggest customer after Tesco. Looking at the state of the market, I wouldn’t be surprised if we overtake Tesco soon”, he added.
Attendees were told that with such a bright future ahead, wholesale offers suppliers a lucrative market to grow brands and good career progression for individuals. “Previously, wholesale was a breeding ground for talent, with the best people moving on to the multiples”, said Simon Gray, managing director of Boost Drinks. “But that is no longer the case – the retail landscape is changing”, he added.
Imperial is a strong case in point – the independent, family-owned business has more than 1700 retail customers and turns over a staggering £56m from its single branch in Edmonton. Attendees at the event were offered a behind-the-scenes look at how the business operates, including the promotional opportunities available via the Today’s Retail Club, a tour of the 45Ksqft depot and an exclusive look at its newly-launched banqueting suite Meridian Grand.
Concluding the day, Visick said, “We hope we’ve given attendees a good case to go back to their senior managers and encourage them to give wholesale greater focus, investment and resources.”
The initiative has taken place three times since last summer and plans are underway to make it a permanent feature of the FWD calendar. “We’ve had a fantastic response from suppliers and we’re looking at holding it up to four times a year,” said chairman of the FWD Martin Williams.
Other key attendees and speakers included FWD chief executive James Bielby, Today’s Group retail director John Kinney and him!’s Tracey Faulkner.