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Take part in our Independent Retailer Survey

Published:  12 January, 2012

Harpers is carrying out exclusive research into the size, specialisms and successes of the independent sector in conjunction with the Specialist Importers Trade Tastings.

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Take 5 With - SITT special

Published:  12 January, 2012

In the first in a new series talking to specialist independent suppliers appearing at this year's SITT, we get the low-down from Miguel Leal at Casa Leal.

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Take part here in consultation on independent and supplier relations

Published:  04 October, 2011

Harpers Wine & Spirit is continuing with its consultation with independent wine merchants to determine what points of principle they would like to see suppliers follow when serving the independent sector and whether they would like to see a supplier code of practice.

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Jamie Hutchinson: Fighting for independents

Published:  09 September, 2011
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Harpers Debate: indies and suppliers go head to head

Published:  30 August, 2011

Leading independent wine retailers and suppliers will come together next month to debate whether a suppliers' charter should be established to regulate how wine is sold.

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UK riots: £80m in lost sales for retailers

Published:  11 August, 2011

The cost of riots across England is put at £80 million in lost sales for retailers, according to research from Kelkoo.

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£20 million fund to help businesses caught up in UK riots

Published:  11 August, 2011


The Prime Minister has made £20 million available and unveiled a series of emergency measures to help businesses affected by riots.

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Jamie Hutchinson calls for suppliers' charter

Published:  01 August, 2011

Independent wine merchant Jamie Hutchinson has called for a suppliers' charter to be set up for any business serious about servicing the independent sector.

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Suppliers hit back at Hutchinson's 'leakage' claims

Published:  01 August, 2011

Suppliers have hit back at Jamie Hutchinson's claims they have not been supporting independents, and say there are enough wines for all sectors to choose from.

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Jamie Hutchinson calls for suppliers' charter

Published:  01 August, 2011

Independent wine merchant Jamie Hutchinson has called for a suppliers' charter to be set up for any business serious about servicing the independent sector.

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Top Merchants seminar on how to expand your business moves to July 13

Published:  03 June, 2011

Harpers' Top Merchants seminar on expanding your business has been moved to a new date of July 13 and will now look at all the various ways in which independents are growing their businesses from taking on new sites to offering new services such as wholesaling, direct sales and café/deli operations.

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Top merchants seminar on the do's and don'ts of expanding your business

Published:  05 May, 2011


The highs and lows of expanding your business by taking on more stores will be the topic of the next Top Merchants day to be held on June 8 at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy.

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Best of the best indie merchants crowned

Published:  24 February, 2011

The brightest independent wine merchants in the country have been recognised in Harpers' Top Merchants awards, presented at Vinopolis last night (Wednesday February 23).

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UK's finest wine indies to reap rewards

Published:  18 February, 2011

The country's finest independent wine retailers will be celebrated at the first-ever Top Merchants awards ceremony next week.

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Stephen Forward blog: Gross profits aids sustainability

Published:  14 February, 2011

Every now and then I stumble across independent wine retailers selling exclusive product lines on
tiny gross profit margins. I used to ask myself how on earth can they could sell at those prices and stay in business. A year or two later I would discover that these very same retailers had gone bust: the answer to my question was, of course, "they can't".

 

On a recent overseas buying trip, organised by a generic wine body for independent retailers, I discussed gross profit margins with my fellow travellers and competitors. I was surprised to learn how low their expectations were. "If we can achieve 20% we're really happy," remarked one buyer. With business naivety like this, it's no surprise indies come and go like third-division football managers.

 

Twenty per cent is just not enough to make a retail business sustainable in the long term. It's fine if you're in the volume business, but as indies we're not. An independent retailer that isn't planning to file accounts with gross profits over 30% is planning to fail, as this is the minimum figure most retailers need just to break even. Selling a product below that averages down the gross margin, potentially towards a loss.

 

Retailers unable to sell exclusive independent product lines at decent margins show poor sales skills. Indies should focus on selling value, not price. If every consumer bought solely on price we'd all be driving the least expensive car, eating in the cheapest fast food restaurants and living in the cheapest accommodation. A quick look at the UK's roads, restaurants and housing shows how many consumers will pay more if they see the value inherent in their purchase.

 

The independent retailer's job is to understand their customers' requirements and to explain the quality and value for money in the exclusive lines they are selling. If they do this successfully, gross profit margins of 40% to 50% or more are attainable, securing profitability and, therefore, the long-term viability of their business.

 

Stephen Forward is owner of independent wine merchant Essentially Wine

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Richard Siddle, comment December 17

Published:  17 December, 2010


And so this is Christmas, another year over and a new one about to be begin. With all due respects to Mr Lennon it has been another eventful year in the world of wine and spirits.

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Australia's First Families of Wine launches second year of UK activity

Published:  09 December, 2010

Australia's First Families of Wine (AFFW) has launched its second year of UK activity.

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Inverarity Vaults opens Edinburgh wine bar

Published:  07 December, 2010

Inverarity Vaults has opened its first wine bar in Edinburgh at the city's Festival Theatre under its One to One retail brand.

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Barwell & Jones takes on premium Aussie wines

Published:  03 December, 2010

Barwell & Jones has added premium Western Australian winery Willow Bridge Estate to its portfolio.

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Alcohol sales to plummet over Christmas

Published:  03 December, 2010
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