Brakes reveals new pricing strategy

Foodservice wholesaler Brakes has revealed a new and more transparent pricing strategy, which will go live in November following extensive pilots.

The changes will make its prices more simple, stable and visible and reward its customers for putting more business its way, said director of pricing Charlie Burton.

The wholesaler will publish prices for all 8,000 of its products online and in a catalogue, with the list updated twice a year in September and March via a central team at Brakes, he said.

He explained that, until now, prices have not been published and have been finalised at a more local level, with some illogical variations between prices for similar products.

He said that the change will allow customers to “shop the range” and compare products before buying.

Customers will get a trade discount of up to 30% on prices, depending on how much they spend at Brakes over the course of a year, he said.

And some 40 best-selling “known value Items” such as cheddar, bacon and Coke will be kept at an everyday low price available to all customers, with no further discounts on offer.

He admitted that there was a “marginal” risk in publishing prices, as competitors would be able to see them, but the upside of the improved customer experience outweighed the risk.

He commented: “This has been a significant decision for us and it took a while to trial and pilot it to ensure that customers’ baskets were rebalanced. No baskets have gone up in price overall, and we have found that publishing list prices means that there has been an upturn in customer spend for customers who have moved onto the system so far.”

Burton also revealed that Britain’s vote to leave the EU was a major issue, with 40% of what it buys coming from overseas and therefore influenced by foreign currency fluctuations. It was looking at ways to mitigate purchasing problems, such as buying more in the UK where possible.

In February Brakes Group was sold to US firm Sysco in a deal worth £2.2bn.

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