Musgrave Group chief executive Chris Martin has admitted “management mistakes” are partly to blame for last week’s “disappointing” results and revealed plans to turn around the fortunes of its struggling Budgens and Londis fascias.
The wholesale giant posted a 16% fall in pre-tax profits for the year to 31 December 2013 on the back of its underperforming GB operations, which saw a 3% fall in sales.
Speaking to The Grocer, Martin said it would “aggressively go after the market with a real commitment to Londis and Budgens”.
The group had made a mistake in pursuing growth by relaxing the rules and this had led to “unprofitable sales”, he conceded.
Musgrave would now demand higher store standards and discipline from its retailers in a drive to “professionalise” the brands, sharpen its offer and help retailers compete with the multiples.
“The key for us is that we want to recruit retailers who will work to those standards,” Martin added. “There is, I think, quite a turning point taking place in the independent sector.
“Within GB, we recognise that we’ve made mistakes. We’ve got to refocus and get the GB market working for us.”
Peter Ridler, who was appointed GB managing director earlier this month following the departure of Donal Horgan, would lead the turnaround programme, said Martin.
“And I’m not shying away from ‘turnaround’, because that’s what it needs to be,” he added. “We need to get some momentum back to deliver what our retailers want because they’re crying out for it.
“Overall, as far as the GB business is concerned it’s step by step and getting back to very good convenience and delivering that in the way the consumer and retailer want.”