Goldney calls for more wholesaler support

Wholesalers still need government and supplier support to help them negotiate the coronavirus crisis, according to Darren Goldney.

The Unitas Wholesale Managing Director says the announcement of the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund in Scotland is a positive sign that the plights of some wholesalers is being listened to – but says more still needs to be done.

The £45 million Scottish fund is designed to help “vulnerable SME firms, which are vital to the local and national economic foundations of Scotland” with some, such as wholesalers, falling through the cracks of current business support measures.

“So far, meaningful support for wholesale in grants has not been forthcoming,” said Goldney. “Yet we are the essential link between outlets who fight to survive and are receiving grants, and suppliers whose support we need but who need paying

“We know government is listening when we see action. We know many suppliers, though not all, are also listening. We need more support and understanding around all of the challenges presented by the crisis. Not all wholesalers are part of national or multinational groups, yet still perform a critical role in food supply.

The unprecedented rise in demand of certain categories means suppliers needs to be updating credit limits to reflect the new paradigm of customer spending.”

The role of suppliers is crucial for wholesalers as they pick their way through the challenges Covid-19 has presented them with and Goldney is asking for more flexibility for foodservice wholesalers.

“Another issue is minimum order quantities (MOQs),” he added. “For example, a foodservice wholesaler fighting to continue to supply care home customers which was just 20% of their business need flexibility as they can’t meet previous MOQs as though they still have 100% of sales.

“It is unfortunate that it is not just stock shortages that can cause availability gaps in critical areas, but things like this, which quick listening and action can resolve.”

coronavirus covid-19 Darren Goldney Government suppliers Unitas Wholesale Wholesalers