Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Sampars shakes up retail model

Published:Friday | September 16, 2016 | 9:00 AMTameka Gordon
In this 2015 photo, Chairman and CEO of Derrimon Trading Company, Derrick Cotterell, speaks at the company's annual general meeting.

Derrimon Trading Company will open at least two more outlets under its Sampars Cash & Carry retail business by next year, Chairman Derrick Cotterell has indicated.

The grocery chain is also rebranding, with the tag line changed to reflect a "modernised and updated" entity, Cotterell told Financial Gleaner following the company's annual general meeting on Wednesday.

"The 'cash and carry' concept is kind of outdated and it's limited, because we are more than just a cash and carry," he said, noting the supermarkets that have emerged in recent years do not follow that model.

Rebranding will also give legs to Sampar's 'web store' as well, he said, alongside other plans to boost the grocery chain's online presence.

"The web store continues to thrive and there is going to be some new developments before the year's end that will bring our web store offering to a different level," Cotterell told shareholders, hinting at an impending deal.

Discussions at

sensitive stage

He would not be drawn on the specifics of the arrangement and implications for the company, saying discussions were at a sensitive stage.

"We are in the negotiation stages. There are some things that will be new and exciting," he said.

Derrimon is budgeting $6 million to $7 million for the rebranding, which will also see upgrades to the physical layout of the grocery outlets.

"Starting October, we are going to revamp the stores so everything will have the look of the rebranding," he said.

Aspects of the new look can already be seen as the St Ann's Bay outlet, while three new motor vehicles added to the fleet, bear the new tag line 'Smarter Shopping'. The older vehicles have also been outfitted with the brighter red and yellow colours as well as the new tag line.

Negotiations are under way for the opening of the first of the two planned outlets, while arrangements for the second are to be finalised by next year, Cotterell said, but declined to state the locations.

Grow or die

Sampars now operates from six locations spread across the parishes of St Ann, Manchester, St Catherine and Kingston.

"We have a philosophy at Derrimon that we grow or die - it's as simple as that. We have to constantly reassess where you are and where you want to be," Cotterell told shareholders, adding that the company is positioning itself to tap "the opportunities we see across Jamaica".

Derrimon has also landed several new distribution deals with both local and regional entities and added its own line of toilet tissue, called Gentle, late last year.

We are looking at other opportunities within Caricom and extra-regionally to grow our portfolio," said Cotterell.

The deals already inked have added several lines to the distribution portfolio, including Golden Brand out of Suriname, Linstead Market, Blue Power, Home Choice, and Sun Powder laundry soap and the Sun Dish line of dishwashing liquid.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com