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.

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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

Innovation can help unlock new customer attitudes for a new era

By David Sables / December 10, 2015

Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot. But the Grinch, who lived just North of Whoville, did not! Whether you are a supplier-Who or a supplier-Grinch this year depends on how you are coming through range rationalisation, I suppose, but the opportunity for 2016 might require a Grinch-like change in attitude. Our attitude is established over years. I remember as an account manager in a testing time getting... Read More

National account managers should be negotiators, not salesmen

By David Sables / November 13, 2015

If your sales team struggles with the difference between selling and negotiation, here is an illustration for them. You will have witnessed the travesty that is the estate agent. While selling they try their best to match your property to the needs of a buyer. Solid. Once there is interest and the price negotiation begins, these guys forget who they represent, who pays them, ie the vendor. Their role in... Read More

Innovation - it's not just down to brands to be responsible

By David Sables / October 16, 2015

It’s such a great time to be involved in grocery, don’t you think? There’s so much going on. To quote IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch: “What excites me the most is every type of company, new and old, large and small, has the chance to win from their current positions.” I couldn’t agree more. However, she also said, on bolder innovations from brands: “The pressure keeps mounting on the manufacturers... Read More

Deal with discounters at a level you can sustain even if you double or treble sales

By David Sables / September 21, 2015

The discounter freight train has got up a head of steam and is cruising past the competition to record shares. Supermarket volumes last month fell year on year for the first time since 2014 and we also have underlying deflation in retail prices. All of the top four lost market share during the past 12-week reporting period, with soft discounters Asda and Morrisons hit worst. Meanwhile, Aldi is up 22.6%... Read More

Promotion planning - make them relevant to shopper needs

By David Sables / August 21, 2015

Selling in grocery is not just selling a product or a promotion - it includes selling a plan and sometimes a vision. In some categories and customers there has been an overnight change in buyer style to one of collaboration, which has stumped and mystified some suppliers, as they’d grown used to surviving the transactional game. Actually, it just proves what an act all the tough stuff is. It’s a... Read More

GSCOP press coverage is essential - shoppers have a right to know

By David Sables / July 02, 2015

The YouGov survey this week reported improvement across the board on retailer collaborative measures versus one year ago. The GCA team is delighted with the gradual progress, recognising there is still a lot to do and that we must not take our foot off the gas. Do remember though that across the same year a major event has rocked this whole arena. The Tesco scandal was so widely covered that... Read More