Unwins continues to deny that it is locked in a trade dispute with Palmer & Harvey McLane - despite stock shortages.
Some outlets still report they are running low on cigarettes, snacks or confectionery, after availability problems emerged in April (‘Unwins hit by supply row’, The Grocer, April 30, p8).
Sales and marketing director Ian McLernon insisted the chain was working well with P&H and there was no dispute. Shortages may be caused by efforts to focus on key lines, he said: “A small proportion of managers may not have certain items.”
Meanwhile, Unwins has teamed up with suppliers such as Interbrew to target shoppers looking for chilled beer. Open deck chillers are being installed and 96 stores will have cold beer sections by autumn, as part of a six-figure investment in a “total chilled solution”.
Unwins is also opening its third Phillips Newman store in London this summer, despite fears new owner DM Private Equity would axe the upmarket retail concept. The concept is also being launched in Germany and Austria.