Anne Bruce
Camelot has admitted that it is not sticking to a previous commitment to keep 65% of its terminals in the hands of independent retailers.
During its bid for the National Lottery franchise, Camelot pledged to keep a 65/35 split favouring small store operators.
But this week it emerged that the profile was changing.
Camelot head of corporate communications Andrew Jones said: "We are going to fish where the fish are to maximise returns to good causes. Fewer than 60% of terminals are in independents now in any case."
Jones said that depending how multiple' was defined, Camelot could already be at 50/50 split - particularly when the smaller chains were included.
But independent retailers this week urged Camelot not to pull back from its commitment to their sector.
Association of Convenience Stores public affairs and commercial manager James Lowman said: "Camelot made a commitment to a 65/35 split favouring c-stores when it bid for the second franchise. If it has changed that, we will take it up with the National Lottery Commission. The Lottery is vital for driving footfall in c-stores."
Morning Noon & Night's Eddie Thompson, who is a member of the Camelot retailer forum, said: "We must have the spilt maintained in favour of independents. We would not accept a 50/50 split."
Meanwhile, 698 retailers - the bulk of them independents - are now on Camelot's 24-week retailer sales improvement drive.
Jones said 1,200 were on a rolling waiting list to start. Another 61 retailers had voluntarily cancelled terminals on being shortlisted. However, only "two or three" have had their terminals taken away so far.
Terminals would be reallocated to stores with the best sales profile from a waiting list of 80,000, said Jones.
Independents surveyed by The Grocer this week slammed the retailer sales improvement programme as unfair.
The majority of those we quizzed in the strawpoll said the Lotto relaunch had not been a success, with 54% saying they had seen no sales uplift.
Despite everything, however, only 14% want a new operator.
>> Reader Panel p22

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