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Shopping rewritten

Sir, Your article on disintermediation (‘Goodbye middleman?’ 20 February, p26) encapsulates the new channel conflicts that now exist in the fmcg market. Despite this, our research points to ecommerce being at best marginal for the big grocers. Fmcg suppliers dealing direct with consumers to support choice for customers and help retailers adjust their cost base is now inevitable. All the old bets are off in traditional/retailer supplier relationships. We will be working with Cranfield to research the radical new business models required and will welcome contacts with suppliers and retailers.

Alan Braithwaite, chairman, LCP Consulting

Table olive headaches

Sir, Your article ‘Olive crop disaster set to drive up prices’ (20 February, p18) neatly evaluates the impact of the latest Mediterranean olive harvest on olive oil supplies and pricing. However, it overlooks the impact on table olives. Driven by the short crop and increased demand from olive oil processors, raw material costs for the two most popular Spanish varieties - Manzanilla and Hojiblanca - have increased by up to 50%. The only respite comes from the Spanish Gordal and Greek Halkidiki varieties. We hope this situation will improve, but meanwhile it’s not just olive oil producers who are feeling the pain of poor harvests.

Rob Amar, MD, RH Amar

ATM rate unfairness

Sir, Your article ‘Retail leaders fume at DCLG rates bragging’ (20 February, p8) reveals just how frustrated retailers feel by a spectrum of issues. Take business rates on retail ATMs. The taxman demands a separate rates bill if a retailer decides to put an ATM in the front of their shop, while there was no such tax on the ATM that used to be in the bank branch next door that closed. We are calling on affected retailers to make their voice heard over this.

Tim Halford, commercial director, Cardtronics UK

Own label’s potential

Sir, Own label in the convenience market has indeed grown significantly in the last few years (‘C-stores: the new home of own label,’ 13 February, p34). Convenience retailers are now seen as established brands in their own right. There’s a great opportunity for these retailers to engage with customers and cement their place in the market but quality and a breadth of ranges will be key.

Shaun Bossons, EVP global business dev’mnt, Trace One