In a presentation to analysts today, Whitbread said value customers were growing in most categories, and Kwik Save had a huge opportunity to capitalise on this trend by building on its unique position in the market.
Double digit sales at new concept Kwik Save stores proved there was potential to grow customer numbers. But the business had suffered due to the absence of a clear business plan, and a lack of investment in assets and staff.
Whitbread’s strategy will involve reinvigorating the company’s marketing, driving availability through better supply chain management and rolling out a “store of the future against a profitable business model”.
Earlier this month, Whitbread replaced Graham Maguire who had been Kwik Save’s MD for just two years following his move from T&S Stores. At the same time, the Somerfield announced that the Kwik Save fascias improved sales to 2.6% from 0.4% in the first quarter and by 1.3% over the half. While Somerfield’s second quarter like-for-like sales were up 1.9% from -0.7% and up 0.4% over the first half.
Last month, Somerfield warned on full-year profits and said chief executive Alan Smith was to depart, which wiped almost 50% off the supermarket’s share value on the day.