By James Atkinson

McWilliam's Wines is taking the FMCG sector's approach of moving beyond gross profit percentages in appraising category performance with retailers, according to CEO Rob Blackwell. 

Having joined McWilliam's two years ago, Blackwell is still relatively new to the liquor industry, but his career has included stints at FMCG companies including SPC Ardmona and Coca-Cola Amatil.

He told TheShout there are significant parallels between how the national retailers run their supermarket business and their retail liquor operations.

"I think the products are interchangeable, but the principles are very much the same," he said.

However, he believes FMCG is more advanced than the liquor industry, in terms of its approach to category management.

"The liquor industry still talks a lot about gross profit percentages," Blackwell said. 

"In FMCG, probably a decade ago, everyone started talking about cold hard dollars – that means looking at how your portfolio is managed to benefit your retail partner by growing category profits," he said.

"It's quite simplistic, it effectively says that through us working together, you're now selling ten cases more this quarter than you did last quarter and you've put an extra $3000 in your bank account. 

"That's the dialogue a lot of FMCG companies have with their client base, whether they be a corner store or Woolworths or Coles."

Blackwell said McWilliam's sales team is now moving towards applying this FMCG approach to wine.

"They are now asking our retail partners how can we best leverage our portfolio from a category viewpoint that will translate to a better return for the category," he said.

See the June issue of National Liquor News for the full interview with Rob Blackwell.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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