Unitas sources private label lines from Morrisons

Date : 08 March 2021

Patrick Mitchell-Fox

Senior Retail Analyst

The Grocer magazine has reported that the leading UK wholesale buying group Unitas is to source a limited number of lines from national supermarket retailer Morrisons under the Safeway brand.  The Safeway brand was launched in 2018 to provide a private label capability for Morrisons’ wholesale supply deal with the convenience retailer McColl’s.

Agreement includes 36 lines in total

This arrangement with Morrisons will allow Unitas’ member wholesalers the opportunity to purchase from a range of 36 ambient lines, primarily in core grocery categories such as spreads, condiments, hot beverages and cooking sauces.  The selection of lines is designed to complement the existing private label ranges that wholesalers have access to through Unitas, which for retail grocery comprises 129 lines under the Lifestyle brand.

Extending value options for Unitas members

While private label has a relatively small role for many wholesalers, it has a significant part to play as a value option within the independent retail channel.  However, it is not clear whether Safeway products will be supplied to Unitas members in price-marked variants, as is the case with many Lifestyle lines, though the Safeway name will offer the benefit of clear recognition for shoppers.

Increases ‘wholesale’ reach for Morrisons

Over the last three years Morrisons has sought to create additional channels of growth by building a role as wholesale supplier, first to McColl’s and then through supply contracts with a range of forecourt retailers such as Rontec and MPK.  In this latest move Morrisons adds further opportunities for its ranges in the ‘route-to-market’ for independent retail, though in this case selling to wholesalers who themselves supply many small retailers.

For details on the retail-focused Unitas members likely to be accessing this Safeway range see ‘Unitas Wholesale’