Roundtable Series: George Tsapoutas, The Distributors

George Tsapoutas: General Manager, The Distributors

What changes have you seen in the industry over the past year?

Looking back on the past year we have seen our market place start to invest in the future with in-store development and roll out of new retail formats. In a market that has been struggling to compete against the major retail chains, we are experiencing top line growth by working with our existing retailers as well as new and emerging channels.

What are the current issues facing the industry in your opinion?

  • Price: There is continued pressure on suppliers and manufacturers from Major grocery chains on pricing. We are more committed than ever to working with our current suppliers as well as seeking exclusive brands and products to provide our customers with the opportunity to grow their business with different and unique offerings.
  • Talent: Repeatedly we are seeing the Convenience and Impulse channel used as a ‘stepping stone’ for talented staff on their way to furthering their careers in the major grocery channels. The independents impulse channel is a very complex channel but has as an equally attractive and rewarding career path.
  • NPD Investment: Keeping consumers excited with new products also requires investment in the marketing of the product and it feels like manufacturers are investing less to market their products as margins become tighter.

Any personal milestones or company achievements you would like to highlight?

The Distributors have been recognised through a number of major industry service awards in 2017. These awards include AACS Distributor of the Year, Caltex Supply Chain Supplier of the Year, New Sunrise Distributor of the Year and UCB Stores Wholesaler/ Distributor of the Year.

What are your predictions for the industry over the next 12 months?

The market will continue to be competitive and challenging and it is an exciting time to be part of this industry. We expect the supermarkets will persist with their current strategy and that retailers in the impulse channel will invest in the development of their retail offer. Cost of goods and the supply chain will continue to be a major focus for manufactures/ wholesalers and retailers, there will be a greater demand for data to make informed investment decisions. The focus on fresh food will continue as well as the ‘better for you’ product. There is likely to be increased investment in measureable e-commerce solutions such as targeted marketing campaigns. For these campaigns to be successful, they will require strategic thought to break through the clutter. The Distributors have been working to be at the forefront of these challenges and look forward to working with our suppliers and retailers to advance and develop within the impulse, petrol and convenience marketplace.

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