Elaine Watson
Big Food Group is targeting catering customers at its Booker depots in a bid to drive foodservice sales beyond the £1bn barrier.
Sales to foodservice customers now represent over 40% of Booker's non tobacco sales ­ about £900m of business, said Grimsey. Add £100m sales from Woodward Foodservice and it hits £1bn.
"Catering is a really exciting opportunity at Booker, and our new look depot at Greenford has a particularly strong offer for catering customers."
Under the direction of BFG's new marketing director Nick Canning, Iceland will gradually develop a more regional marketing strategy, telling customers more about the new format stores, said Grimsey. In the meantime, new ads in the run up to Christmas will focus on bogof deals, which will run in stores alongside megadeals such as five products for £4.
Although a new more EDLP-driven pricing strategy will be rolled out with the new format, stores trading under the old format are benefiting from a strong NPD programme, he said.
"New value, kids, and chilled ready meals lines are doing well," added Grimsey.
He declined to comment on speculation that BFG's newest shareholder Baugur was preparing a takeover bid.
"We have not met the company yet, but it clearly saw our stock was ridiculously undervalued."
Pre-tax profit at Big Food Group slumped from £16.7m to £6.6m on net sales down from £2.45bn to £2.38bn in the 24 weeks to September 13. Like-for-like sales at Iceland were down 6.7% and up 0.8% at Booker.

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