In the June issue of National Liquor News, Gavin Saunders, CEO of Liquor Marketing Group (LMG), notes how retail refresh and branding activity has led to great growth for the group and its members.

National Liquor News: How has LMG been faring in 2022 so far?

Gavin Saunders: LMG member performance has continued the strong growth and momentum enjoyed over the past few years. Consumer trends towards convenience and local, alongside considerable investment in LMG marketing and programs, has continued to deliver Q1 growth volumes for LMG being greater than 25 per cent higher than Q1 CY2020. For context, this performance compares against reported results for major competitors of growth between three and six per cent. Areas of progress for LMG include our retail store refresh program, resulting in 93 stores being refurbished in the past year and strong sales growth, with a notable increase in premium product sales in refreshed stores.

We’ve also had the AVC partnership, where LMG was selected as the retail partner to rebrand 21 AVC stores across four states, under the Bottlemart, SipnSave and Harry Brown brands. The Harry Brown brand itself has grown, with LMG on track to deliver on our strong expansion plans for our large format retailer brand. Four new store openings in 2022 will bring the total number of stores to nine and another two stores are in the pipeline for 2023. Harry Brown provides the opportunity for members and suppliers to work with a small number of high volume stores operated by exceptional retailers who are committed to ranging and executing a leading retail offer for their customers and drive incredible growth which has been achieved over the past year.

NLN: What are the biggest opportunities and challenges for LMG for the rest of this year?

GS: The biggest opportunity and challenge for LMG and our members is to retain and further grow our customer base which we have attracted over the past two years. LMG members have enjoyed strong growth in customer count as more shoppers focus on local and convenience and with this trend combined with LMG programs, it has delivered market leading retail sales growth.

NLN: Do you have any new customer initiatives you’re excited about for this year?

GS: LMG will refresh and relaunch our e-commerce app and website in August. The existing platform has delivered great results, however the upgrade provides many more exciting opportunities to engage with customers, for example, with loyalty integration, gamification, endless aisle and favourite shopping lists which notifies customers every time their favourite products are promoted.

NLN: What is the role of the e-commerce for LMG right now?

GS: E-commerce offers a great opportunity for independent retailers. The average basket size online is more than double an in-store transaction and it has strengthened customer engagement and retention. A significant opportunity for LMG is to further grow the e-commerce reach of the Bottlemart, SipnSave and Harry Brown apps and websites.

E-commerce has been adopted by our customers due to the benefits of true convenience. The LMG platform offers one hour delivery, plus the full range and aligned pricing with in-store. As more and more shoppers are delighted by these benefits and more, there is no reason to believe that the rate of adoption and growth will diminish any time soon.

The other unique benefit of the LMG e-commerce platforms is the ability to market offers through digital and social media. LMG digital data base marketing and social media drive our e-commerce performance which benefits our members.

NLN: What is LMG’s biggest strength right now?

GS: LMG strength is through having a membership of exceptional retailers and a structure where LMG’s sole focus is supporting them to grow their businesses. This structure and focus has allowed us to invest in platforms and support which delivers growth ahead of the market.

Find this interview and the rest of the annual banner group feature in the June issue of National Liquor News.

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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