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Internet ordering for independent retailers

Independent retailers are being offered the chance to order delivered wholesale stock on the internet.

Blueheath has been set up by two former executives of the management consultant McKinsey as a specialist e-wholesaling service.

A trial is being run through the National Federation of Retail Newsagents for the service, which supplies a range of grocery products including alcoholic drinks.

Blueheath has its own warehouses to handle stock ordered by retailers from suppliers.

Lead time for orders is three days. There is no joining fee and equipment is being installed free of charge.

Blueheath said there would be no minimum order or lock-in arrangements for users.

Customers are being recruited in south east England with a national rollout planned for the end of the year.

The company has been founded by former McKinsey partner Douglas Gurr and e-business expert Chris Philp.

Gurr said: "This is a true innovation for the independent retailer.

"For the first time, they can see a level playing field with the multiples and a real chance of financial security.

"It allows our independent customers to adopt the supermarket's way of doing business to suit their own stores.

They can concentrate on business development, gain a competitive edge and plan a healthier future. Blueheath hopes that suppliers will see benefits in the system, putting them into direct contact with retailers on such issues as merchandising.

The remainder of the Blueheath team includes former Tesco executives, while former Safeway chief executive Colin Smith has taken a non-executive directorship.
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