By James Atkinson

An inspiring presentation from Steve Lewis, CEO of UK retailer Majestic Wine, was the highlight of the Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) 2014 conference, which drew to a close yesterday in Cairns. 

Delegates were glowing in their praise of Lewis, who explained how an unwavering focus on customer service had enabled the company to continue to grow its market share in the face of tough competition from the UK’s four major supermarkets. 

ALSA president Giuseppe Minissale said the Majestic boss’s presentation was a call to action for independent retailers.

“I honestly believe that Steve Lewis nailed the presentation,” he said.

“It was all I could have hoped it to be. It was a very expensive exercise to fly someone out to the country, to work with them to get the presentation right and then to have them deliver it in such a professional manner, but Majestic and Steve Lewis was the highlight for me.”

Full coverage of Steve Lewis’s presentation is available on Smart Licensee.

Along with positive news from DrinkWise about its national education campaigns, Day Two also included the supplier forum panels and the expo and trade day, which featured the ‘Tastes of the Tropics’ food and beverage matching experience.

The final conference sessions were devoted to the findings of the ALSA Retail Insights Study Tour, with retailers from Kemenys, Liquor Stax, Vantage Group, Jim Murphy Group and Liquor Barons sharing how they have changed their approach to business since returning from the UK.

In an engaging and interactive morning session, the key themes to emerge included the need for suppliers and retailers to work more closely together on joint business plans that will deliver on volume and margin objectives for both parties.

The retailers also reported that there could be significant upside in the Australian market for exploration of new packaging formats and controlled brands, as well as an increased emphasis on staff training, as advocated by Majestic Wine’s Steve Lewis.

Darwin named as ALSA 2015 venue

The ALSA Conference will be held in Darwin next year, CEO Terry Mott announced this week.

Mott said the conference would be held between August 23 and 27 at DoubleTree by Hilton.

A slightly shortened format will offset the increased travel costs for delegates, with optional packages available for those who wish to extend their visits.

The Shout Team

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

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