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Supermarkets set to cull wine suppliers, warns Accolade's Paul Schaafsma

Published:  11 September, 2014

The UK wine trade must brace itself for what could be large scale "supplier rationalisation" across the major multiples over the next 18 months, according to Paul Schaafsma, UK and Ireland head of Accolade Wines UK.

Schaafsma believes the demands on British supermarkets to drive even more efficiencies and cost savings across their businesses, as the pressure from the hard discounters increases, means serious rationalisation is inevitable.

"It has to happen," he said. "There is going to be a greater reliance on less suppliers."

It was therefore vital, he stressed, that suppliers serious about working with major multiples were more than simply wine suppliers to them, but more partners.

It was certainly the driving ambition for Accolade Wines UK to be true "category partners" for wine with the major multiples. The pressure was already there from supermarkets for major suppliers to take on much of their logistical demands.

It was also why Accolade Wines was investing so much in its own data and insights that it can share with its multiple partners to plot the next trends and demand for wine styles.

Schaafsma said the upcoming Scottish independence vote could be a "massive issue" for all wine companies if Scotland votes to move away from the rest of the country. The whole supply chain, invoicing, ordering, distribution and duty issues would be completely in the air if the Yes vote was to win.