The success of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors' Blueprint for Wine is being undermined by discounting in the multiple grocers and specialists. Kent independent retailer Phil Brown told the FWD Drinksummit conference this week: "A lot of the wines the Blueprint asks us to stock are subject to regular heavy discounting. The £1 off a bottle, three for a tenner and buy one get one free deals makes my pricing look silly, even though I am working on margins well below the industry norm. "Rich offers like these are not available in my buying channels and I am tempted to jump in the car and buy up all the stock on my credit card." He said this situation was untenable: "I have to invest heavily to support the Blueprint. My own gross profit on an expanded special offer programme has fallen to 12.7%. "I cannot sustain this hit on my margins for long. The major brand owners must invest more time, money and energy in the wholesale sector so stores like mine can buy more competitively and sell out more aggressively." He installed the Wine Blueprint on the day it was released but found not all the wines recommended were available from his supplier. He said lack of interest by suppliers and wholesalers and their failure to support their customers were driving independents out of business. Brown, a co-owner of Weald Post Office said he often put in 120 hours a week and, because of reinvestment in the business, was working for £1.50 an hour and taking a holiday once every five years. "I know I cannot go on working at this pace with little or no support and for mediocre returns. Your Blueprint is fine, but support reaching us through wholesalers is extremely poor." {{NEWS }}

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