Mary Portas is just one of the star attractions at this year’s Pro-retail show, which takes place at the International Centre in Telford on May 10-11. The independent retail champion will give three presentations per day on how to run a successful convenience store (see right). Palmer and Harvey marketing director Richard Hayhoe says the wholesaler is always trying to refresh Pro-retail to add "maximum value".


"We know it’s a commitment for retailers to take time out from the shop floor and we’re keen to add as much value as we can to the show for visitors," says Hayhoe.


"Pro-retail is a great chance to meet suppliers and network with other retailers, and our initiatives have been planned to complement this by delivering insight and learning on product and consumer trends that visitors can take back and implement in their businesses."


There will be 220 suppliers this year including Cadbury, GlaxoSmithKline, Heinz, Mars and PepsiCo. "We will have our biggest-ever show exclusives from suppliers," promises Hayhoe, "with deals retailers can’t get anywhere else." To take advantage of these offers, you must be either a P&H independent ambient or chilled and frozen customer. You also need to complete the Show Exclusives book which will be given to you on the day of your visit.


At Pro-retail there will also be the largest-ever Mace convenience store featured at the show and the largest-ever forecourt store. "Retailers really liked the forecourt store last year because it showed how the Mace store could fit into a smaller footprint," explains Hayhoe.


Plus visitors will be able to hear directly from Mace retailers on how they’ve grown their businesses.


Something else to look out for is a new joint initiative with Market Fresh. It’s a food-to-go solution with coffee on the run, savouries and pastries.


"We are really excited about it because it is a really flexible format which retailers can build on. They could start with a small coffee/pastry offering and build it up to include bread. So whether it’s a small kiosk store or 2,000sq ft store, it can cater for all retailer requirements. Retailers can also build elements onto it," says Hayhoe.


"We’ve had it on trial at one store," he continues, "and the manager there has reported a 35% increase on food-to-go sales. Retailers we’ve shown it to have been really excited about it."


Help and advice will be on hand at the show from leading industry experts as well as P&H’s own buyers at this year’s category zones, which will focus on chilled foods and alcohol. Says Hayhoe: "There will be presentations about what the future of retailing looks like and how consumer behaviour is changing. This will be demonstrated through multimedia, too. There will also be a focus on the transactional website, with one-to-one tutorials on how to use it." For more information log onto




queen of shops


Independent retail champion Mary Portas (pictured left) will be at Pro-retail presenting convenience store masterclasses.

Richard Hayhoe, marketing director at Palmer & Harvey, says: "We think Mary is giving the right advice to independents. There are a lot of synergies with what she is saying and what we’ve been doing.

"She will translate her retail expertise into convenience retailing. She will be doing three presentations per day, giving her insight into how to run a convenience store. The principles Mary promotes are relevant whatever the store. She is also very focused on the role independents can play in the community."

Portas adds: "I’m absolutely convinced that it’s the spirit of the independent retailer that brings the all-important diversity and choice necessary to today’s shopping experience. On the face of it, it seems like the large multiple retailers hold all the aces, but they can’t do what small businesses can. Small retailers will always be able to offer customers the personal service that is beyond the reach of the multiples."