By James Atkinson
With the right leadership team now in place and a competitive new offer for its banner groups, the Independent Liquor Group (ILG) has turned the corner, according to CEO Doug Evans.
ILG has endured a tough couple of years, dealing with the legacy and the financial burden of some past decisions, including its ambitious move into new purpose-built premises.
But Evans told TheShout that the wholesaler's new partnership with Toll, under which the logistics company has agreed to a long-term lease of ILG's Sydney warehouse and will manage ILG’s warehouse operations, caps off a number of important financial reforms.
"It's a great result for us, because we get rental income for the space that was empty, we benefit from the efficiencies a global logistics company can provide, and having a long-term tenant in Toll raises the value of the property significantly, which is good for the balance sheet," Evans said.
"We struggled a bit over the last couple of years as we washed through some of the write-downs that hit the business, but we've now made almost all of the important financial changes we needed to streamline our costs so that we could focus on increasing sales and income which increases the returns and benefits we can provide to our members."
Evans said the recent high-profile appointments of Allen De Costa as general manager trading, and Peter Hampson as retail marketing manager are already paying dividends.
"It was a real coup to get Allen, and Peter Hampson complements him perfectly – he brings a wonderful pedigree of the discipline and professionalism of the chains," Evans said.
"In three months, they have very quickly transformed the department; and they have already negotiated significantly better terms for our members."
Evans said ILG launched a new banner group on January 1 called Super Cellars, along with a new, matching offer for its Little Bottler banner group.
"We've already signed almost 30 outlets and about $25 million worth of new business in the first few weeks," he said.
"Our target over the next couple of years is to grow by about 150 members in the two groups which will see ILG banner groups including Little Bottler, Super Cellars, Pubmart, and Clubmart exceed 400 outlets."