Although he is dismissive about some of the “super salesmen” who try to sign up retailers to symbol groups, David Middleton’s infectious enthusiasm must help him bag a few new recruits.

With a wealth of experience in retailing, and then 13 years with first Nurdin & Peacock and, when it was taken over, Booker, Middleton believes the most important aspect of his job is his understanding of independent retailers and their needs.

“There’s no point in being a super salesman if you don’t understand the independent sector,” he says. “You need to be able to spot shops with potential, ones that can add something to the group.” Signing up new members is only part of his remit, though, and although some people in his line of work relish clinching deals, Middleton says the part of his job he enjoys most is helping retailers develop their businesses and refitting stores. “That’s when the adrenalin really starts to flow,” he says.

“We can provide a sounding board and an extra pair of eyes for our customers to help them find ways to improve their businesses. Often it is a case of listening to what a customer is suggesting,
interpreting that, and coming up with a solution.”

Middleton says he is looking forward to the rollout of lap tops to Premier development managers, which has just been announced. “This job is getting more and more technical, but that’s good,” he says. “Being able to sit down with a customer to discuss changes to their store, and show them in 3D on the laptop what it’s going to look like will be great. It will be a really powerful tool.”