Liberty sets sights on convenience

Liberty Wines is looking to extend its reach into the convenience sector as it celebrates strong sales across independents and the on-trade.

Managing director David Gleave outlined his ambitions amid “buoyant” sales, which have seen the business grow by 16.5% in the first seven months of 2014.

He said: “The on-trade is buoyant and the independent off-trade is just behind that, but it is doing well and has access to more wines than ever before.

“There are different areas we haven’t looked at yet because we have been focused on existing ones. I think there’s a lot of business out there. Independent wine merchants are 30% of our business and there is a substantial opportunity to grow.”

Liberty appointed Jon Worsley as its first commercial director earlier this year to swell sales further, with the convenience sector and multiple on-trade as key targets.

Gleave said that shifts in the market meant it was more diverse and offered prospects to expand.

He said: “The market is much more polarised than ever before.

“Some people in the industry still say ‘we can’t do this or that because it’s wine and this is the way we have always done it’. But wine is something that has to be sold.

“There has been a kind of professionalising of the industry. It’s a bit like when the New World came into the market, it was a shock to the system for the trade.

“We have relevance from £7 to £15 and above. Supermarkets have said they want to trade with fewer suppliers, so we miss out on the 250,000-case contracts, but we are happy with the 2,000-3,000 case contracts.

“Value doesn’t mean cheap. It’s our job to find value at every price point.”

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