Welcome to the Grocery Retail Industry Nominations (GRINs)
So, after the month-long awards fest of the Oscars, BAFTAs and Brit Awards and just before that red carpet gets packed away for another 11 months we thought it was time to unveil our very own awards for outstanding effort and achievement in the grocery retail sector. Welcome to the GRINs.
Best Unsupported Merger
And our first nomination and award goes to Sainsbury’s for Best Unsupported Merger. Trying to merge two companies who simply cannot be subjected to any form of the meaningful acronym was always doomed to failure. ‘Sainsda’, ‘Sasda’ even ‘Asdbury’s’ was never going to get any votes from the CMA for a tongue tripping memorability. 300 compulsory store disposals have doomed the deal to the history books and set a potential game-changing series of dominos toppling with Sainsbury’s and Asda now potentially in the sights of a hungry Amazon Go.
Most Inappropriate Soundtrack
Our second grocery retailing award is also winging its way to Holborn. It is for Most Inappropriate Soundtrack of the year. Mike Coupe’s nails down a blackboard rendition of ‘We’re in the money’ subjected a whole Sky News morning audience to a fascinating if toe-curlingly embarrassing, insight into the workings of the mind of a top grocery CEO.
There are industry rumours that after the CMA’s interventions in the aforementioned Sainsbury and Asda potential tie-up that Mr Coupe’s entry for next year will be a rework of the classic 1980’s Dire Straits, (Lots of) Money for Nothing.
How to Massively Improve Your Market Share and Buying Power Without the CMA Realising
And in stark contrast, our third grocery retailing industry nomination and award goes to Tesco for How to Massively Improve Your Market Share and Buying Power Without the CMA Realising. Seen through the lens of the Sainsburys and Asda doomed tie up Tesco’s acquisition of Booker looks like an inspired masterstroke of strategic and opportunistic future thinking by the Welwyn Garden City outfit. By all accounts, the Booker acquisition has proceeded almost seamlessly and Tesco has very astutely kept a ‘hands-off’ approach to the day to day running of Booker but quickly amassed integration benefits from suppliers, supply chains, stores and systems.
Finally Woken Up and Smelt the Coffee
Our Finally Woken Up and Smelt the Coffee award goes to Waitrose this year. After bravely and studiously filling the cupboards and larders of the great British middle class, and for the past decade seemingly able to defy economic logic, the chickens are coming well and truly home to roost for the grocery retailer from Bracknell. The current and ongoing shake-up of their commercial teams to enable more ‘shopper-centric’ commercial decision making puts them only a mere five or so years behind the pack leaders.
It’s easy to become blinkered and possibly a little complacent when everything you touch turns to Middle England gold. Waitrose are by no means not the first company to fall into such a trap. Expect Marks and Spencer to retain its long-running crown in this particular category next year.
Lastly, to close, we must remember those that are no longer with us. This final In Memoriam award category goes to Palmer and Harvey. A company whose lifetime achievement and lasting contribution to British grocery retailing are that absolutely no-one has missed them one little bit in the slightest.
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