Today's Group has launched a new fascia for independent off-licences, as the wholesale arm of Nisa-Today's continues to expand its retail offer.

Today's Local Drinks launched a year after off-licence giant Threshers collapsed will cater for the 200 or so members of Today's Group's retail club that are licensed operators. Four stores have already opened and the group is hoping to get more retailers on board soon.

"Local Drinks gives retailers an edge," said MD Bill Laird. "Since the demise of Threshers, a space in the market has opened up. There is still a place there for specialist ­retailers."

There would be a major retail push next year, following the relaunch of Today's Group's retail offer and the capture of former Landmark Wholesale retail controller Raj Krishan, Laird added. It now has four fascias: Today's Extra, Today's Local, Today's Express and Today's Local Drinks.

Total sales growth at Today's Group from January to October was 10%, with volume growth of 6.7%, Laird said. Tobacco sales grew 12.5% during the period, licensed was up 11% and impulse up 6.8%. Foodservice sales were up 6.5% and grocery rose 3%.

"The team is really buzzing," said Laird. "Our members have invested £50m in their businesses this year and this will continue."

Today's Group would also continue to push further into foodservice this year, he added. Combining Today's Group members, the buying group is the third-largest foodservice operator after Brakes and 3663, with an annual turnover of more than £1bn.

Although the sector has seen "a little bit of trading down" this year, foodservice for Today's group members was "fantastic", Laird said. The market was "under-exploited" and the company would continue to grow in the sector.

Meanwhile, Today's Group is planning to repeat its successful annual roadshow in 2011 after it this year travelled 34,000 miles visiting member depots. The roadshow will be called 'Today's Your Lucky Day' and will start in the spring.

Read more
Baines takes over as trading director at the Today’s Group (2 October 2010)
Nisa-Today’s ‘on track’ to exceed £1.5bn (11 September 2010)