Bargain Booze retailers to start buying drinks from outside the group

Bargain Booze and Wine Rack franchisees will now be able to source 10% of drinks from outside of the company under franchise agreements.

The retail chains were rescued from the ashes of the failed Conviviality empire when wholesaler Bestway swooped in and purchased them earlier this year.

The deal also included Select Convenience and Central Convenience stores, and the total group's estate now stands at around 700.

Bestway bosses have travelled the length and breadth of the country conducting 12 regional franchisee meetings, and they have outlaid new franchise terms.

The three key changes are: the ability to source up to 10% of goods from outside the company; a simplified paperwork process; and fewer retro payments, sale or return.

Head office hopes the changes will make it easier for franchisees to deal with the company, extend their shopper offer and increase profitability.

It had a job to do in convincing franchisees not to switch to a rival fascia, and it has aimed to reassure them Bestway offers the best opportunity to grow their businesses and deliver greater sales and boosted margins – “being much more than simply ‘a sign above the door”, in the words of the company.

Bestway Retail managing director David Robinson said: “Naturally, many of our franchisees were impacted by the disruption they had recently experienced, so it was important that we met with as many of them as possible, not only to communicate our new improved proposition, but also to listen to them and to respond to as many questions as possible as we begin to build the plans for the future.

Robinson, a former Argos and Homebase executive, was managing director at Conviviality Retail at the time of the group’s collapse, and the new owners have kept him on in the role.

He said: “It’s vital that we meet the needs of our retailers and, by limiting the amount of paperwork, this frees up franchisees’ time and efforts into developing their business.

“The reduction in the number of products that franchisees are required to purchase through the company gives store owners the opportunity to support other local businesses and provides shoppers with locally sourced products which may not be available centrally.

“The vast majority of franchisees have responded extremely positively to the new, improved proposition. They see a brighter future, and many are already talking about how they can further grow wholesale spend to unlock more rewards, with some discussing how we can help to expand their estate as well.”

Bestway has promised franchisees an “increase in products within the customer offer”, allowing them to get into “more margin enhancing categories”. Franchisees were always allowed to buy local products, but now they have the freedom to buy, for example, Carling from Booker if it has a deal on.

Terms have been reviewed to increase cash flow, with all franchisees continuing to receive 21 days credit on purchases, as well as a scheme that allows them the opportunity to earn up to 4% rebate on their wholesale spend through the group.

One franchisee, Gareth Wynne, who has a store in Mold, north Wales, said: “This is a proposition that is stronger than ever before. More flexibility means that we can run our shops in a way that is right for us and the communities in which we operate - making it more rewarding for us and our customers.”

Related articles: