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Wine merchant scraps plans for drinks retailing 'super group'

Published:  24 August, 2012

A wine merchant's plans to create a "super-group of drinks retailers" encompassing a buying group and website for both stores and suppliers, have been scrapped.

Anthony Borges, who runs the Wine Centre in Great Horkesley, Essex, was hoping to set up Specialist Drinks Retailers online which would offer members, who had to pay £300 to join, a "register of wines exclusive to the group, useful product information, recommended retail prices based on healthy margins, links to stockists, stockist profiles, further links to members websites, a forum to chat, a conduit for supplier promotions and incentives, and much more".

But the independent sector was not as interested as Borges had hoped. He told Harpers he was "very disappointed".

"I really don't know for sure why my fellow independents didn't support the SDR initiative in the numbers we needed for a mandate. Perhaps it was the £300 subscription - these are hard times for all of us.

"But there again, look at what members would have got for it: a website dedicated to them, an advertisement for every member, the untold opportunities it would have provided to achieve additional profits and market share, the chance to network and to present ourselves as an entity, a skilled sales force second to none offering a very real shopping alternative to the discount culture offered by the supermarket multiples.

Borges had been building the campaign for the past 10 years, and said: "It`s a job that needs to be done. It would have been useful to brand owners and agency companies as well, providing a gateway to the independent sector and a conduit to offer promotions. It would have been an opportunity for them to build premium brands."

He has now abandoned plans and will concentrate on running his Essex store.