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Our Strategy


At the beginning of the 2016/17 financial year we established three priorities against which we will allocate resources across the organisation.

Strategy interview with John Martin - September 2016

Key Strategic Themes

We are accelerating the execution of our strategy throughout the organisation to deliver faster profitable growth in every business.

In all of our businesses our objective is to grow revenue ahead of the market while generating profitable growth through a relentless focus on providing the very best service in our industry, improving gross margins and maintaining an efficient cost base.

Our businesses and markets are not homogeneous and therefore require customised strategies to provide our customers with the best possible experience.

To achieve excellent execution we have identified a number of important strategic themes which are the primary drivers for how we will win in our local markets, outperform our competitors and drive strong financial results. While these strategic themes are common, the  businesses prioritise them appropriately depending on the local market and competitive environment. For example, e-commerce growth is a priority in the UK and Canada where penetration is less than 10 per cent, whereas in Central Europe it is already over 35 per cent. So overall we want to see rapid execution of the most relevant initiatives in each business to drive the fastest improvements.

Associate engagement

Well trained, highly engaged associates deliver better customer service. A relentless focus in this area drives customer loyalty.

Customer Service

Our aim is to provide the best customer service in the industry, consistently across branches and regions.

Sales culture

We will continue to drive a strong sales culture. Where our associates are proud and confident about our services, and have the best tools, knowledge and data to support them, we will achieve the strongest results.

Operating model improvement

We need to ensure that our operating model is agile and flexible so it can adapt to changing customer needs. We also need to ensure our support functions provide the right service to the front end of the business and do so efficiently with the ability to flex their cost base when required.


Increasingly our customers want to deal with us online and we must ensure we have the leading e-commerce platform in each market in our industry. This provides our customers with an invaluable channel and some competitors find this hard to replicate, giving us a significant competitive advantage.

Private Label Penetration

We will systematically build upon and extend our portfolio of private label brands which in 2015/16 represented 6.4 per cent of Group revenue. We have an opportunity to offer a wider range of private label products to our customers, some of which attract a higher gross margin.

Pricing Discipline

We will work constantly to understand our customers' needs more accurately and structure our pricing to be fair, consistent and transparent.