an advertising supplement SHS Sales & Marketing (GB) Farmlea House 2 & 3 Oriel Villas Oriel Road Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL50 1XN Tel: 01242 570288 Fax: 01242 221119 E-mail: Key personnel Group Chairman Joe Sloan Group Chief Executive Geoff Salters Group Managing Director Michael Howard Managing Director (GB) John Black Sales Director (GB) Peter Butler On-Trade Director (GB) Stephen Grove Commercial Controller (GB) Marcus Freer Key brands Askeys; Cadbury's Desserts; Concept; Caledonian Clear; Ca'Quila; VR; WKD; WKD Blue; Woody's; Woody's Cocktails; Woody's Ice; Clausthaler; Douwe Egberts; Farmlea; Gatorade; Highland Spring; JW's; Merrydown Vintage Cider; Merrydown Classic Cider; Pulse White Cider; Shlöer Juice Drinks; Mitsukan; Primula; Castle MacLellan; Punjana; Snapple/Mistic Exploring new worlds Investment in people, structure and IT systems is key to further business growth for SHS Sales & Marketing (GB) in its 26th year. "We continue to grow our portfolio of blue chip brands because we understand the markets in which we operate," says md John Black. "We are not just brokers, but also brand owners, and we aim to properly manage the categories vital to our principals. To do this we have built the best infrastructure in the industry to ensure our sales and commercial teams achieve the best possible results in all sectors." Changes began to emerge last year, when the company decided to adopt a clear sector approach which demanded significant internal reorganisation. The new order was good news for the wholesale sector which has seen the benefits of a major investment in SHS's wholesale division, ensuring maximum focus on servicing wholesale, C&C and independent customers. SHS's on-trade support also underwent considerable expansion, while partnership with principals and customers became the raison d'etre for a newly expanded team in the commercial department. A dedicated Farmlea division ­ the core of the grocery operation ­ is already looking at developing the brand further alongside its own label business across canned lines and its premium meat range. Black claims that because 80% of most business is sourced from six to 10 accounts many sales operations tend to underestimate the continuing strength of the wholesale and cash and carry sectors. "This is where we, as specialist brokers, come in. We understand the industry dynamics and will continue to work in partnership with our customers in order not just to sell in effectively but to sell out profitably, too." Black says that by working with accounts' buying and marketing teams to ensure that correct listings, promotions, packaging, displays, merchandising and category management are properly in place, he can make dramatic improvements in rate of sale. "It is vital that we don't just concentrate on sales into accounts but that we work hard with regional directors and their retail clubs to generate sales out. This approach has led to significant increases for brands such as Douwe Egberts where, in partnership with our principal, we have lifted market share in the independent sector from 4.4% in 1998 to 21.9%. "Working with Merry-down on its brand leading Shlöer range, we are enjoying a record market share in the multiple sector. Last year we helped Highland Spring break the one million case barrier in the non-multiple sectors. And we have also built an enviable reputation in the on trade sector derived from our Beverage Brands portfolio." He points out that SHS is equally effective in tailoring its structure to meet individual principal's investment ­ a classic example being the establishment of a "go deep" sales team exclusively for Snapple in its key M25 catchment area. The company's experience in handling global brands leads chairman Joe Sloan to believe that such accounts will increasingly need specialist servicing, particularly in the non-multiple sectors. The emergence of pan-European brands also offers opportunities for further expansion, says Sloan. If he's right, is grocery about to witness the emergence of "Superbroker"? "It may well be that we shall see some interesting mergers in the future," hints Sloan, "and the SHS Group intends to be at the centre of any such radical moves." European based operators are already tracking the expansion of multiples across the world, offering a single, cost-effective route to market for manufacturers and brand owners, both in Europe and out. And while SHS watches developments with interest, it has already hit the pioneer trail in the UK by becoming the first broker to cover the entire British Isles, handling a portfolio of blue chip products from within the UK, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}