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Ensuring a sustainable and prosperous convenience industry in Scotland

Latest News

Major New Funding to Support Independent Convenience Stores

A new £250,000 capital investment programme to support small independent grocers introduce Food to Go stations within their stores has been announced by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Food to Go stations offer a range of fresh hot and cold food and drink to customers and the Scottish Government-backed fund will provide small grants covering 50% of the cost of re-fitting the store, new equipment and displays as part of our efforts to support small businesses. 

Speaking at the Scottish Grocers Federation Conference, Mr Ewing said:

“Many of our small independent and family run convenience stores are operating in a very competitive trading environment and are having to adapt and innovate to continue to meet changing consumer behaviours. One such way of doing this is through the introduction of Food to Go stations, which entices customers into the store and generates a new income stream.

“Food to Go is fast becoming a growth market for many retailers but introducing the offer comes at an additional cost which can present a challenge to small independent grocers who are already operating on tight margins.  This competitive fund will provide some much-needed support to those who want to diversify and expand their offer to consumers.  It will also provide a great opportunity to further showcase the best of Scottish produce and encourage a shift towards healthier options”.

Welcoming the news SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said:

“We are delighted by this announcement from Mr Ewing. The Scottish Government is making an unprecedented investment in the independent convenience store sector in Scotland. This will ensure that retailers can respond to the changing needs and expectations of customers by providing a high-quality food-to–go offering with a strong focus on healthy eating options.”

 

Background

The investment programme will be administered by the Scottish Grocers Federation. The Scottish Government will work with the Scottish Grocers Federation over the next few months to design the criteria for the programme and we will look to open the Programme for applications early in 2018. 

SGF Strengthens partnership with STP

Scottish Grocer’s’ Federation (SGF) has announced the new appointment of Pete Cheema, their Chief Executive, to the Board of Directors of Scotland’s Town Partnership (STP).

 STP is Scotland’s largest towns hub; representing and promoting the diversity of Scotland’s towns and places, and supporting those organisations and groups that have an interest in or ownership of them. There are almost 500 towns in Scotland.

 Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of STP said: "The convenience store  is the mainstay of our town centres, SGF's membership of 5,300 shops and the wider supply chain covers every town in Scotland and we welcome this positive collaboration. Over the last couple of years Pete and his team have driven real positive change for their members and Pete's knowledge of the sector is second to none."

Pete Cheema said: “I am delighted to join the STP Board, they are Scotland’s key agency for supporting town centres, promoting  investment, development and connectivity.  I look forward to contributing to the Board and strengthening the partnership between STP and SGF.”

 SGF and STP are joining forces to deliver the SGF Study Tour on the 21st September, looking at business investment in Scotland’s towns. SGF recently launched its own planning gateway which allows members to maximise investment and planning opportunities.  This is a service to their members which gives quick access to their local development plan and all planning applications which are live in their locality

SGF Launches Planning Gateway

Scottish Grocers Federation has taken a major step forward in enabling its retail members to easily access information on planning applications and local development plans.

The 'Planning Gateway' on the SGF website now provides members with a direct link to every local authority planning portal in Scotland. There are additional links to every local development plan. Each local development plan shows where retail development can be sited within each new enterprise, business and housing zone. SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said:

"Planning issues are vital in enabling our members to assess the level of competition on the ground and in making investment decisions locally. The Gateway provides full geographical coverage of Scotland and will be of major benefit to our members – we must take advantage of the opportunities offered through local development and planning across Scotland and make the process work for us."

The new Gateway is part of an ongoing project at SGF to provide members with an interactive platform for planning and development. The next phase of the project aims to provide data from every town and city in Scotland on demographics, retail density per head of population, socio-economic profile, digital connectivity and economic activity.

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)

Wholesalers

From 1st April 2016, alcohol wholesalers had to begin a process of registration with HMRC. Details of the registration process can be found here.

Wholesalers must include their AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN) on all sales invoices and provide the URN on request to anyone purchasing alcohol. Wholesalers have until 1st April 2017 to change invoices.

Retailers

From 1 April 2017, retailers need to check that their alcohol wholesaler is registered with HMRC and has the AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN). If you buy alcohol from a non-registered wholesaler, you may be liable to a criminal or civil penalty, your alcohol may be seized, or you could lose your alcohol licence.

How to check if a wholesaler is registered?

Before April 2017

Before April 2017, ask your wholesaler(s) if they have applied for HMRC registration, but bear in mind that they may not have their registration number yet as they don’t need to use it until April 2017.

After April 2017

Step 1 – Use online look up service

You will be able to use an online look-up service to check if your wholesaler is registered. This will be available on HMRC’s website from 1 April 2017.

Step 2 – Check unique reference number

You will find the AWRS URN on wholesaler invoices from 1 April 2017. Retailers will be able to enter the AWRS URN of the wholesaler and the look up service will confirm whether that wholesaler is approved. The format for the URN will be made up of four alpha characters and 11 numeric characters, such as: XXAW 00000123456

Step 3 – Due diligence and record keeping

You must be able to demonstrate to HMRC that you requested a wholesaler’s URN and checked its authenticity. You can do this by printing off the webpage after checking your wholesaler’s URN. HMRC have not prescribed any additional record-keeping requirements for retailers who are not wholesalers.

Latest News

  • Major New Funding to Support Independent Convenience Stores +

    A new £250,000 capital investment programme to support small independent grocers introduce Food to Go stations within their stores has Read More
  • SGF Strengthens partnership with STP +

    Scottish Grocer’s’ Federation (SGF) has announced the new appointment of Pete Cheema, their Chief Executive, to the Board of Directors Read More
  • SGF Launches Planning Gateway +

    Scottish Grocers Federation has taken a major step forward in enabling its retail members to easily access information on planning Read More
  • Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) +

    Wholesalers From 1st April 2016, alcohol wholesalers had to begin a process of registration with HMRC. Details of the registration Read More
  • New Presidential Team at SGF +

    SGF has taken a big step towards ensuring business continuity and effective succession planning as it moves towards its centenary Read More
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