Key Lekkerland has unveiled a range of new initiatives intended to reinvigorate the business including a new event for its retailers organised by William Reed, publisher of The Grocer.
Commercial director John Liptrot said the business had suffered a number of upheavals over the last year, including the loss of more than £200m of business and the exit of the Irish distribution group BWG from membership.
But now with a core of four family-owned wholesale companies providing coverage of the whole of Britain, it was set for renewed growth.
Addressing an audience of suppliers he said: "My message to the trade is that we are back; back in the frame as the major alternative to Palmer & Harvey McLane."
The business would focus on three main growth areas, said Liptrot the Keystores symbol group, regional multiples and national accounts.
He said the group would introduce a centralised ordering and invoicing system for national accounts at head office, replacing the current depot invoicing system to provide customers with a much simpler, more efficient system.
Fuelforce has just renewed its national account for the 170 forecourts trading under the Jet brand. And Key Lekkerland is currently involved in tenders for a number of other national contracts.
Liptrot also pointed out the Lekkerland organisation had members in 17 European countries. In 12, it was a supplier to Shell and in 11 to Exxon Mobil. He said Lekkerland now had European account management offering a single negotiating point for companies wanting to deal on a continental basis, and the UK business would be part of that process.
Key Lekkerland has also decided to replace its annual trade show with the Key Lekkerland Summit on October 28 organised in conjunction with William Reed. It will involve a number of seminars and round table events for retailers and will use web technology to enable them to draw up an itinerary to suit their needs.
William Reed events director Andrew Reed said: "The summit will provide retailers with a quality networking opportunity with their own peer group. It is supported by the manufacturers. who will get a much better understanding of retailers' businesses, and it will enable them to enhance both their and retailers' business efficiently using a cost-effective model.
"Retailers will also benefit from being able to share best practice among themselves in a focused environment."