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

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

The language might have changed, but the pressure is the same

By David Sables / March 15, 2016

Put your hands in the air and give me your money - this is a stick-up". Or as it's now said: "Hold hands and play fair, I request your partnership investment - this is an opportunity." It's fascinating how retailer demands are now phrased to be code -compliant. 'Investment' not 'support', 'request' not 'demand'. Asda asked suppliers to state their 'requirements to unlock investment' - making it their proposal, not... Read More

Asda is back in play - watertight ways to deal with desperation

By David Sables / February 19, 2016

After months of silence and reorganisation, Asda is now engaging with its suppliers on 2016 plans. It wants your money into cost of goods to bring down the everyday price, following Tesco beautifully. Sainsbury’s has also made a similar play for today’s market: it’s all about the COGs, not the lumps and bumps of support money that lead to un-strategic range proliferation. Sainsbury’s has gone further though: Argos looks a... Read More

Adjudicator Tacon's probe into category captaincy to stir up new hornet's nes

By David Sables / January 30, 2016

Adjudicator Tacon's probe into category captaincy to stir up new hornet's nest After a 355-day investigation into the UK’s biggest retailer, Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon this week delivered her verdict on the “shocking” breaches of the Code by Tesco’s buying and finance departments, who between them systematically abused suppliers to prop up the supermarket’s ailing profits.The report catalogues the illegal deduction of multimillion pound sums and how Tesco delayed... Read More

Holland & Barrett accused of squeezing suppliers

By Emma Simpson / January 19, 2016

Holland and Barrett is being accused of squeezing small businesses after it sent a letter to suppliers demanding contributions to its investment plan. In a letter this month, seen by the BBC, the high street retailer says it wants a reduction of costs of at least 5% from all its suppliers. It also wants suppliers to pay for £3m worth of security tags and CCTV. The Forum of Private Business... Read More