One supplier said this week that the retailer’s problems were now such that it had ceased trading with the troubled chain. He added: “It is very difficult to trade with a company when you have serious doubts about their ability to pay.”
Another said: “We have not been supplying them for some time. When your commercial relationship breaks down you have to make the decision to stop selling.”
He claimed it was very difficult to know what was happening at the chain.
Unwins’ troubles have been well documented over recent
months following a series of supply problems in drinks, tobacco and snacks.
And its row with Palmer & Harvey McLane does not appear to have been settled with reports of poor stocks of snacks, confectionery and cigarettes. One store manager said: “The week before last I didn’t have a delivery of cigarettes at all. I bought some from elsewhere.”
Unwins now appears to be sourcing deliveries from other wholesalers. AC Ward & Sons revealed it had agreed to supply some stores and the retailer has confirmed this.
Sales and marketing director Ian McLernon said the introduction of new ranges was part of the problem.
“We have said that re-stocking the business will take time. Our relationship with our key suppliers is very good. AC Ward is supplying product to a small number of our stores, but P&H remains a core supplier.”
And he insisted there were no problems with other suppliers of its core range of products.
“We have no issue with our major suppliers, but clearly when you change your range there are people who will feel slightly aggrieved.”
He added: “There are many ways to source a product. You do not have to deal directly with suppliers.”
Meanwhile, Unwins has confirmed it has made a u-turn in its retail strategy and is in the process of reconverting its Unwins Food & Wine shops into standard off-licences. The retailer decided to provide a wider offering in some of its stores last year to compete with c-stores and supermarkets.
Unwins has also identified eight more sites for conversion to its upmarket wine format Phillips Newman and plans to incorporate Phillips Newman concessions within Unwins stores by Christmas.
The Grocer News Team