Convenience veteran and entrepreneur Mike Greene’s advice is often sought out in the UK food and retail industry. Given his long experience, this is hardly surprising. Mike has been involved in convenience retail for over 30 years and has lived through, first hand, both the massive growth of supermarkets and the convenience store revolution led by visionaries like John Irish which shaped the UK industry. Now, as another period of transformational change dawns in the UK, with Tesco’s £3.9 Billion move to take over Cash & Carry giant Booker, we are once again asking Mike’s view on the future shape of the UK industry.
Convenience stores were always seen as the champions of local/community and perfectly placed to work with local suppliers to offer the optimum fresh, locally sourced and locally served retail experience. But sadly, in Greene’s opinion, many seem to have lost their way and have instead driven for productivity, price and efficiency over service and quality.
Whilst the supermarkets obsess about quality and work harder and harder to forge local relationships, Mike believes that many convenience stores are generally opting for the ease of one-stop shopping with a symbol group, or wholesaler, and may be accepting second class fresh product at uncompetitive prices as a consequence. Greene believes that consumers vote with their feet on fresh and finds that research continues to highlight the problem.
In his presentation at Convenience Summit – Europe, Mike will showcase the award winning, best in class operators who understand this. Many source their own solutions and open their own delis, sandwich shops and butchery counters to address the problem, but, he asks, if this is only a temporary, sticking plaster solution?
Greene personally tried to compete with the supermarkets by buying 130 of Morrisons small stores and working with NISA, but despite his battle to address the FRESH divide that exists in quality, freshness and price, failed to drive the change required in the time that was afforded.
Five years ago Mike wrote a book entitled ‘Failure Breeds Success’ and isn’t afraid of failure in the pursuit of a goal, or tackling huge challenges. Hear from Mike about the lessons he learned, how he believes the sector/industry could benefit hugely from a concerted and collaborative REFRESH programme, and how he would do things differently if he were starting MyLocal again! This will be a session not to be missed.