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Top Majestic buyers demand better service from suppliers

Published:  05 September, 2014

Leading Majestic wine buyers have defended the chain from taking share from independent merchants and demanded better service from major wine suppliers with "laughable" demands.

In a wide ranging interview with former Somerfield head wine buyer, Angela Mount, experienced Majestic buyers, Chris Hardy and Matt Pym, set out their buying strategy and what they want from their suppliers.

The interview is the second in a series between Mount and leading buyers across the retail sector, following an earlier profile with Tesco's Laura Jewell MW in June.

Highlights of the interview are in the September issue of Harpers, but subscribers can read the full report in the Analysis secdtion of

In it Hardy and Pym cry out for better level of service from some suppliers.

Majestic Chris Hardy accuses suppliers of not doing their Majestic Chris Hardy accuses suppliers of not doing theirBetter understanding of how buyers work is greatly needed amongst suppliers, said Hardy

Hardy, who is one of Majestic's most trusted French buyers, puts it blunty enough. "Don't waste our time. Do your homework first. If  you've got the right products, it's all about the detail; keep an eye on the ball  and ensure no disruption to the trading relationship."

He said suppliers need to be more aware of the pressures that retailer buyers face. "We have a lot of time constraints, a huge supplier base and a lean infrastructure - we don't have a team who open the thousands of samples which arrive in our tasting room, we do this ourselves."

He added: "It's laughable how many suppliers ask us to diary a weekly meeting with them - they look after two or three accounts; we look after the world of wine. They need to understand us better."

Better understanding of how buyers work is greatly needed amongst suppliers, said Hardy

Majestic's Matt Pym calls for suppliers to understand its Majestic's Matt Pym calls for suppliers to understand itsPym defends Majestic going direct to on-trade customers

Pym, who buys across New Zealand, Spain and South Africa, agreed: "A good supplier will have done their homework. They get the way we operate. They don't just try to sell their brand with no consideration of how to sell this on to our staff and our customers; they understand how we work." 

Pym is particularly worried about the quality of some of the sales people he has to work with. "Some of the sales guys who come to see us simply have no idea of how we operate. They don't think vintage change information is important, they don't get our vision."

Pym goes on to defend Majestic from criticisms levelled at it from the independent sector that it is looking to take share away from independent wine merchants by offering its own business to business service that now accounts for 25% of sales.

"We live in a competitive world. We're all looking to get a piece of the pie. As a restaurant or business concern, 24 hour free delivery, based on 6 bottles makes sense, and this is what many can't offer. Our focus is on customer service."

He added: "Of course independents have a crucial role in our Industry, but we all need to work out where are specific strengths and targets are, and maximize those."

Pym also stresses in the article that Majestic is not out to cut back on suppliers. "We don't want supplier rationalization. We want a broad base of suppliers and exciting wines - we won't compromise the wine range for the sake of taking a couple of producers and suppliers out of the mix."

 * Subscribers can read the full interview in the Analysis and Majestic sections of