Sometimes, it’s the personal touch that counts. And again and again, customers of Newcastle-based Lowrie’s Cash and Carry say that’s why they like doing business with the company.
“I have a lot of direct contact with Lowrie’s staff, all of whom are approachable, including Peter,” says John Marshall, joint owner of CTN store Langley News in Ashington, Northumberland, and one of Lowrie’s 500 customers.
The cash and carry mails its regulars every three weeks and arranges personal visits from its depot managers to help them boost sales. It also works closely with retailers on category positioning and layout. MD Peter Lowrie explains: “We’ve been persuading retailers to take confectionery off counters and put it on centre gondolas, with the help of Nestlé. Retailers who have done that have seen significant profit increases.”
This February, it made its first move into the franchise business by recruiting delivered customers to a new Lifestyle fascia.
The plan was boosted by the acquisition of eight Right Choice stores and Lowrie thinks the company is in a good position to offer advice on fascia design and external marketing as well as internal promotions.
Its efforts must be paying off - sales are up 14% on last year, and it has set a target of £26m for next year. And Lowrie’s Premier and Platinum Club promotional schemes are also going down well with customers - so well indeed that they claim they can sometimes undercut the multiples on price these days.