Unitas reveals “ambitious” 2020 plans

Buying group’s first conference is the platform for exciting future discussions

Driving sales and profitability are key to the plans Unitas Wholesale has revealed for 2020, as the buying group continues its journey towards a more efficient and effective service for members and suppliers.

The strategy was discussed by Managing Director Darren Goldney at the Unitas conference in Portugal, which was the first gathering of its kinds since the buying group formed in November 2018.

More than 320 delegates attended the conference, with members and suppliers treated to a presentation that recapped on how 2018 was a time for consolidation and transition, and for Unitas to set out its aim to be a sustainable, first-choice business partner.

After making that start, 2019 has been spent streamlining the business, creating single points of contact, event programmes, central payment systems, digital platforms, promotion programmes and core-range schemes – making a more efficient process for everyone to achieve a greater reach.

“Since our creation in November 2018, we’ve committed to delivering efficiency and effectiveness for both members and suppliers, and we’re delighted that this event, with its firm focus on contact and collaboration has delivered both,” said Goldney.

“For 2020, our plans are ambitious. We’re continually looking at new ways to drive up sales and profitability for both members and suppliers. Our plans for 2020 include a full rebrand of our foodservice side of the business, which is in significant growth, plus some really innovative changes in retail.

“We’re expanding the scale of Plan for Profit and introducing new initiatives, such as Picture Portal, which is dramatically improving promotional execution.”

Retail Director John Kinney spoke about Unitas’s retail plans for the future, including the decision to roll the core-range guide, Plan for Profit, out to the entire retail business so it provides all the group’s independent retails with essential stock advice that’s supported by sales data and insight. This is communicated by a printed guide, the app and online. The number of key members is growing, with Parfetts and Filshill signing up for 2020.

Another key service Unitas is offering is its Picture Portal, which was launched earlier in 2019 to drive day one through-the-line execution for B2B and B2C promotions and transmits execution evidence requests to members in depots.

“We know this initiative will benefit our members enormously as day-one execution helps capture sales and encourages our partners to offer us the best activity,” added Goldney. “Picture Portal execution is a great example of how technology can facilitate a group of individual members to come together demonstrating execution via a common platform and enables us to compete on a level playing field with national operators.”

Foodservice is also a significant part of the Unitas business and is now worth £2.5 billion, with 95 out-of-home members servicing 120,000 foodservice outlets and 26,000 on-trade outlets. And to growth that further the group is relaunching marketing materials, with core-range and own-brand guides launching next year. New promotional programmes and a refreshed magazine will also be released next year.

2020 plans buying group conference growth John Kinney retail Unitas wholesale