In The News

David Sables, CEO, and the Sentinel Team appear regularly on and in various media, commentating and giving insight on industry issues. David is a regular columnist within ‘the Grocer’ magazine, as well as being a contributor to Forbes.

For press enquiries, please contact our UK office. call: +44 (0) 1753 867979 or email

It's price increase panto season for suppliers

By David Sables / October 26, 2017

It’s one year on from the ‘Marmitegate’ cost price wrangle with Tesco. The anniversary is marked by a wave of suppliers thinking again about their next cost price increase. Bookings of our one-day CPI training programme are up 50% with suppliers wanting to exercise their pricing muscles. Last year, even under the shroud of the weakened pound, many suppliers didn’t act, and those who did took a minimum ‘survival hike’... Read More

Time to delist the retailer media sales houses

By David Sables / September 28, 2017

The classic ‘cut and thrust’ between account managers and buyers is changing. Striking the balance of meeting the customers’ needs while developing your employer’s bottom line involves flexible but focused negotiation. This means getting something in return when giving the customer a version of what they ask for. But retailers’ focus on front margin has taken variables off the table over the past 18 months. GSCOP hasn’t helped the flow... Read More

Ways to manage two years of uncertainty

By David Sables / January 17, 2017

Here’s a shocker: I’m predicting that in the next two years the retailers who meet shoppers’ needs best will gain market share at the expense of those who lose focus. And there’s more. I believe the suppliers who best meet the needs of those retailers will have the largest share gains. Marketplace uncertainty is here for at least two years, so we can’t easily assess the spending mood of swathes of... Read More

New suppliers are kept out by buyers but it should be an open invitation

By David Sables / September 28, 2016

How is it that Waitrose has captured the market in being approachable to new suppliers? It gets the true innovation to market first every time. Even though the big four desperately need to differentiate, getting a meeting with any one of them requires you to be a savvy experienced supplier. These established suppliers recycle the status quo, not create true innovation, yet the bright young businesses can’t get through the... Read More

The sales job has changed, but grocery always leads the way

By David Sables / September 03, 2016

I thought it was now accepted that relationship in selling is not as important as it was. But James Halliwell’s feature (‘Death of a salesman?’, 20 August, p28) revealed 75% disagree that a data-driven approach, rather than a relationship-based one, helps make you a better salesperson. I’m afraid it does, folks. The art of selling is alive and kicking to those who recognise that the buyer’s job has changed and master the... Read More

Planning a Cost Price Increase? Speak to us first…

By John Butler / August 08, 2016

With your customers wanting lower prices whilst at the same time your costs are going up we know that getting a cost price increase away is one of the most challenging commercial situations suppliers can face – with wide ranging implications for your business if it isn’t executed well. At Sentinel, Industry expert and commentator David Sables has designed a 1 day workshop to help you fully realise your cost... Read More

Morrisons are not invisible to the Groceries Code Adjudicator

By David Sables / July 09, 2016

So something good DID come of the Tesco investigation. In my speech at last year’s GCA conference, I referenced unbalanced demands issued by Morrisons to its suppliers. Little did I know, around the same time (in June and July 2015) the GCA received evidence that Morrisons had requested lump sums to be paid - with implied threats of delistings. No negotiation was offered, there were no references made to supply... Read More

Sentinel now offer consumer marketing training workshops via our partnership with Geneva based company ‘Magnetic’

By Andrew Thompson / July 01, 2016

Consumer and Brand Marketing Training We have teamed up with Magnetic, a creative and strategic consumer marketing company. Magnetic have a unique approach to consumer and brand marketing training, coaching and mentoring. They show you how to make your marketing more insightful and your creative assets more impactful to help you get it right first time, more of the time. The result - improved marketing ROI. Magnetic Expertise Experienced, award-winning... Read More

Suppliers must make the effort to walk the store, if nothing else

By David Sables / June 11, 2016

Account managers know they should do store visits, but once they are listed it’s the first routine they drop. Higher up the organisation it gets worse; sales directors are too important. Wandering around shops is job of the retail bosses, right? Yes, but that makes it your job, too. The point of purchase is the shopper’s window to your products. It is the objective and result of everything sales are... Read More

Remove barriers to communication, but beware barking dogs

By David Sables / April 15, 2016

In selling, information is king and the best source of customer information is, of course, your customer. It’s a nice old-fashioned truism and with all the talk of collaboration these days we should dust off some of these pearls and cautiously lower our guard to try an open dialogue and ‘reset’ buyer rapport. Back in my early repping days, I kept a card under the Vauxhall Cavalier’s sun-visor with some... Read More