Speaking to the Grocer magazine Sedat Kaan Hendekli, Head of Operations for JJ Foodservice has revealed that the wholesaler has now successfully regained its level of pre-emergency turnover, reporting £4.2m of sales in the last week (that would be c£220m annualized). Despite still missing elements of its customer base such as schools and restaurants, JJ has been able to build on its strength as a supplier to the takeaway and fast food sectors, which have been coming back to life, while so many out-of-home businesses remain closed.
‘Direct-to-consumer’ now represents 13% of sales
As well as regaining core ‘trade’ customers JJ has benefited significantly from its rapid pivot early in the lockdown to focus on servicing consumers’ domestic needs. Having successfully recruited 30,000 domestic customers in just six weeks, the consumer channel now makes up 35% of JJ’s customer base by number. Meantime sales to domestic customers have reached £550,000 a-week, some 13% of the total business, as it now is, and potentially worth almost £29m annually.
Chicken sales up 10% year-on-year in April
Amongst JJ’s most successful product areas in recent months has been chicken, which, driven by a highly competitive price position has enjoyed significant growth in spite of all the disruption going on in the wholesaler’s market. In April JJ Foodservice sold over a million kilograms of chicken, a 10% increase on April 2019. Adapted into smaller pack sizes JJ’s chicken range has proved especially popular with its new domestic customers, who now account to 20% of the sales in this specific category.
Adapting product and service to consumer needs
It is clear that rapid growth of JJ Foodservice’s sales to consumers has been facilitated to some extent by the pre-existence of some, though a much lower, level of consumer business prior to the coronavirus emergency. Before March JJ’s consumer sales stood at £152,000 a-week, and now increased by over 260% JJ has worked quickly to ensure its offer is more relevant to consumer, and to support ongoing growth. As well as working with suppliers to re-purpose existing lines for consumer use JJ as also added 200 new specific retail-sized products and has also added smaller vans to its delivery fleet, providing a better solution to operating in more congested residential areas.