Toft to launch planogram scheme for indies

Alan Toft, the name behind the Blueprint planograms recently axed by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, is putting together a new project aimed at maximising drinks sales in the independent sector.

Former FWD director general Toft is heading up Drinkslink, an initiative involving 8,000 members of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents. The scheme will include planograms.

Toft said: “The detailed

policy is in discussion, but the Drinkslink product will be comprehensive and communicated in a professional manner. It’s not only about planograms – it’s about communication as well and the NFRN has a unique and very efficient line of communication to its membership through its nationwide local branch system, a great website and a proven culture of successfully helping its members in many different ways.” Toft said the independent convenience sector was “high on the strategic agenda” of suppliers and he insisted the NFRN planograms would be influenced by consumer behaviour rather than suppliers involved in the scheme.

“Nielsen and other data will certainly come into it when we sit down and agree not just the planograms but other educational aspects,” Toft said. These are likely to include staff training and legal issues, he added.

Toft said there was a “thirst for knowledge” about alcohol among the CTN community. “Many NFRN members have shops which can be transformed into great local convenience stores, while retaining their very efficient and locally required news and magazine trade,” he said.

“By enhancing their off-licence offering and driving more footfall, NFRN members will find they sell more newspapers and magazines – that was proved by the Take Home Blueprint which not only increased independents’ drinks take but also boosted total grocery, confectionery, impulse and ready-meals turnover.” The NFRN is hoping to launch Drinkslink at the beginning of May.