News; Sep 16, 2002 CET

Swedish Match named »Best Supplier«

Swedish Match has been named »Best Supplier in Service Retailing in Sweden.« The award was made for the first time by the National Association of Game and Service Retailers, the National Association of Petroleum Product Retailers and the Stockholm Fair at a trade fair in Stockholm in April.

The competition must be considered the toughest conceivable. Suppliers to service retailers include not only tobacco companies but many large companies with world-class marketing, such as Coca-Cola, GB and Carlsberg. The award consists of a certificate and SEK 15,000. But the honor is naturally more important.

»THE TOUGH COMPETITION naturally makes it especially pleasing that we have received this award,« says Bengt J�on, vice president Sales for North Europe Division. »It is a spur for us. It shows that we are on the right track and that retailers appreciate our work.«

There are a number of reasons why the award went to Swedish Match. One is that Swedish Match continuously adapts its operations to the needs of retailers. The Company has also worked to help increase profitability in the retail field.

Swedish Match was also praised for its product development, adaptation of its product line, and fine sales aids. The fact that Gothia Tek was considered to have brought factual and serious arguments to the debate over tobacco was a special plus factor. »Catch,« the snus that has attracted new consumer groups, is one example of development of the product line.

»Swedish Match is good at visiting stores and helping on the spot, and its distribution works well,« says Susan Fritz, president of the National Association of Game and Service Retailers. »The award is important for us since service retailing accounts for a full 65 percent of our sales in Sweden,« Bengt J�on says. Kiosks, convenience stores, gasoline stations, newsstands and tobacconists, among other outlets, are included in the service retailing designation.

»DIALOG« IS THE KEY WORD underlying the good relationships with retailers. »We work consistently with an ear to the ground, listening to the needs out in the field,« Bengt J�on says. »For example, it may be a matter of snus coolers and what they should look like in the future. Or humidors, product exposure, sales campaigns, and so forth.«

»The purpose of the award is to increase the focus on small shops,« Susan Fritz says. »An individual store has relatively small sales, but as a group these stores are of great importance.« The select of a winner was a long process.

»We asked our members to propose appropriate award winners and the jury then chose Swedish Match,« Susan Fritz says.

THE WORK IN PARTNERSHIP with retailers was also the reason why Swedish Match and United States Manager Lennart Freeman were awarded the prestigious »Captain of the Year« prize last year. The prize is awarded by the Pennsylvania Distributors’ Association. The Swedish award was not made to an individual person.

»This is a team award, not just to the sales division but to the entire division,« Bengt J�on says. »But it is important that we not rest on our laurels with this. We must continue to have a close dialog with service retailers and grow together with them.«