On a mission to raise awareness of industry issues

The chief executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, Scott Landsburgh, has just passed one of his stiffest tests of the year – arranging a successful annual conference. 

With the SGF representing 2,000 stores, meeting all its members at once last weekend could have been a pretty daunting prospect, but Landsburgh says: “The grocery industry is great – it’s like a big family, especially here in Scotland, but it is getting more and more demanding and everyone is working harder and harder.”

Although Landsburgh’s family has a strong background in retailing, he originally moved out of the trade to become an accountant, working in various private hospitals before returning to the grocery industry.

His family ran five stores under the Spar banner, but Landsburgh bought himself out of the business to manage two of his own stores, which he sold to CJ Lang in 2000.

Three months later, he became chief executive of the federation.
“Part of my job is to keep an eye on the legislation coming in from Europe, Westminster and Edinburgh,” explains Landsburgh. “I like to see myself as a scrutiniser of the Scottish Parliament in relation to the impact its policies have on retail.”

He adds: “One of the biggest thing to happen for the Scottish Grocers’ Federation in the past few years has been to bring all the Scottish co-ops on board. It has been a great boon to us and gives us more weight.

“With the assistance of the co-ops we’re about to hire a parliamentary lobbyist to keep an eye on the MSPs and keep them aware of issues facing our industry.” 

One motion currently going through the parliament that is of particular concern to many federation members, according to Landsburgh, is the proposal to put a tax on plastic carrier bags.