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Sir: John Nevens’ letter on the importance of supplier involvement in range reviews (’Range review readiness, 11 April) on the importance of category management to success, clearly establishing your value to any retailer has to come right at the top of any relationship. However, in the case of Tesco, ranging from August is in the hands of the Boston Consulting Group, and it is not clear what basis they will use to select the winners, and remove the users. Big brands will, I am sure, already subscribe to these principles, but challenger brands need to build a competitive platform as well as understanding.

It is my belief that success this year, and into the future lies in bringing sales and marketing effort together. to build success for retailers. This is by selling much more into core geo-demographic areas (more product through more of the right stores). In the case of Tesco, I know brands where 30% or more of their ranging is actually into stores where they are not ranged officially, but store managers have selected to list locally as they have been persuaded that the turnover of these products will exceed those of the competition. In these areas stores sell 2-3 times the average simply because they supply core demographics. The result, based on Tesco policy, leading to a decision stores have never regretted. Retailers looking to see positive growth in sales from the shelf will be delighted if you drop the poor selling non-core stores and substitute those that will do really well, meanwhile supporting these areas with a variety of profitable promotion initiatives. One brand using these principles recently won an award at a Local Sourcing Conference for ‘Understanding the Tesco Strategy, Category Strategy and Local requirements’ and ‘Working 24/7 to drive growth’. 

Category management does indeed need to be wholly integrated with shopper marketing in a continuous process if you want profit to underpin your retailer relationship.

Colin Harper, author, Shoppernomics