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Landmark Wholesale explores ‘new horizons’

The Landmark Wholesale annual conference 2018 drew to a close after a fantastic few days in Alicante, where delegates were encouraged to explore ‘new horizons’ in the current landscape of consolidation, change and uncertainty.

Regarded as a highlight in the industry calendar, the Landmark Wholesale conference was attended by a mix of members and new and existing suppliers. The business sessions kicked off with John Mills, Landmark Wholesale Managing Director, taking the opportunity to highlight the challenges facing the sector and the emerging consumer trends that Landmark and its members need to be focusing on, working closely with suppliers.

Delegates heard from Landmark members, such as Jason Barnard and Guy Swindell from Parfetts, who outlined the expansion of Gold (Go Local Direct) which has seen Parfetts’ Sheffield site turn into a 24-hour business: cash and carry during the day, picking and delivery operation by night.

Delegates were challenged by Elit Rowland, founder of Women in Wholesale, to think about how they attract and retain first-class talent in the wholesale sector. Peppi Cremona of Accolade Wines and Robin Martin from Coca Cola European Partners also took to the stage, encouraging delegates to seek out new horizons either personally or for their businesses.

Alongside the traditional conference presentations from Landmark staff and key suppliers, was a panel session, chaired by James Lowman, CEO of ACS. This comprised James Bielby, Chief Executive, FWD; Jill Livesey, MD him; Matt Goddard, Wholesale Trading Director, PepsiCo International, UK and Ireland; and Marcus Singh, Director, Hyperama. The panel answered questions on a variety of issues such as pricemarked pack shared margins, use of data, social media and the clear need for improved collaborative working.

For the first time, a Lifestyle Express retailer addressed the conference. Raj Kaur, who runs a Lifestyle Express store in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, shared the challenges and successes of running a full neighbourhood store in close proximity to plenty of local competition.

Guest speakers this year were Levi Roots, creator of Reggae Reggae Sauce, who shared his story from the Notting Hill Carnival via Dragons Den to running a £60m business. And finally, presenter of the This Week and Daily Politics shows, Andrew Neil provided a thought-provoking analysis of the UK’s political and economic landscape, rounding off another successful Landmark conference.