WASHINGTON -- Shurfine Central Corp. is moving ahead with its commitment to international programs, and has changed its name to underline that direction.
At its recent annual meeting here, the private-label procurement and marketing cooperative renamed itself Shurfine International Inc.
Paul "Tuck" Jasper, president and chief executive officer, told SN there are now nine members/ customers outside the United States: five in Canada, two in Mexico, one in Puerto Rico and one in Kuwait. Also, its U.S. members/customers export products to more than 30 countries.
Jasper said global expansion is a strategic thrust for Shurfine "because it's a global market, not only selling, but also procurement."
The company, based in Northlake, Ill., posted $1.1 billion in sales for the fiscal year ended May 31, 1994 -- a 30% increase over the previous year. In the United States, Shurfine consists of 42 midsized wholesalers/customers serving 22,000 supermarkets, 35,000 convenience stores and 3,022 drug stores.
During his president's report to the Shurfine membership, Jasper said retailers today must have at least 20% of sales in private label to survive long term. That figure will go up to about 40% by 2005, he added.
"With the pressure of the mass merchandisers cutting margins on the brands, private label is the profit solution," he said.
During the 1993-1994 fiscal year, 607 new items were made available to Shurfine members. The average number of items carried by customers increased by 202 items. The total number of all new Shurfine stockkeeping units added in all distribution centers was 6,454.
Jasper listed four major accomplishments during the 1993-1994 fiscal year. They included:
· Global Expansion -- The new members outside the United States were Sultan Center in Safat, Kuwait, which is a chain wholesaler with about 55% of the country's food business; Kipp Group of Ottawa, Ontario, which is a food service and retail operation; Sobey's, a Canadian retailer, and its subsidiary, Clover Group, a food service distributor; Supermercados Amigo, a food chain in Puerto Rico, and Comercializadora Moderna, a wholesale distributor in Monterey, Mexico.
· Drug Store Program -- The Chain Drug Marketing Association, an umbrella group for 3,022 independent drug stores, became a member last month. Shurfine is working with CDMA to develop about 800 health and beauty care products, 400 general merchandise products and 200 food items that will be sold in these drug stores.
· Fresh Meat Program -- The company entered the fresh meat business to offer a "brand" of beef exclusive to Shurfine retailers. Shipments began in March. Nine customers are currently in the program, with Shurfine adding one every two weeks, Jasper said.
· Food Service Program -- Operations began in June with the goal of competing against corporate food service distributors, as well as local independent distributors. New members, Sobey's and Kipp Group, helped Shurfine jump-start its food service program. Also, AG of the South has agreed to work to develop the program for the current customer base.
"We've positioned ourselves to service the food store, convenience store, drug store and food service segments," Jasper told SN. "That will carry us into the future. While we buy synergistically -- our procurement department buys for all those businesses -- we market them individually."