At last week’s GDS fair, Ariston-Nord-West-Ring pointed out that tough competition, especially from strong chains such as Deichmann, is the major challenge for its affiliated retailers. Fritz Terbuyken, the group’s member of the executive board in charge of purchasing for its ANWR Schuh unit, presented a completely revamped strategy to strengthen the ties between the buying group, its members and suppliers.

As previouly indicated, the new "bestseller voting" program initiated by Terbuyken, invites all participating members to vote on the best-selling items for the next season. The result should be a list of not more than 250 items to which the retailers commit themselves in order to receive the best possible prices with their suppliers, thanks to on-time orders of considerable volumes.

For the first time, this type of voting will be web-based, but it will not be the only one coming out of Terbuyken's hat. "Starseller" is the name of another new concept designed for basic items. The deal here is that ANWR, in cooperation with its strongest retailer by turnover, defines some 50 items that should be ordered by as many affiliated retailers as possible in order to reach a maximum volume. The target other than reaching best possible price points is to have these top items reserved for ANWR members on an exclusive basis.

The "mandatory model," the third new measure taken by ANWR Schuh's head office to improve the group’s standing with the suppliers, is a sort of «blank check» to the benefit of the supplying brands: While 85 percent of the orders are freely placed by the participating retailers, 15 percent of the volume (compared with the one in the previous season) will be left to the discretion of the brand. This, again, allows the group’s members to reach best possible conditions with their vendors. The new concept mainly targets basic items.

Additionally, the group is counting on more efficiency as far as the purchasing process is concerned. As reported, ANWR has farmed out its warehouse to have more space at the Mainhausen headquarters to provide in-house order shows. The new show concept is called «Campus.» Its goal is to help members save time in purchasing, a great help when they are also trying to run their companies and sell. According to Roland Schwerdtfeger, ANWR’s chief executive, the new showground will be officially inaugurated in May; the first show of Sport 2000, the group’s co-operative for sporting-goods retailers, took place in the new facility this month.

For the first time ever, ANWR will advertise on German TV this year. The spots are reserved for the group’s select pool of retailers who have the «Best Partner» label. The ads will appear on the Super RTL and Nickelodeon channels at the end of August and in early September. The marketing campaign is in cooperation with Skechers, which will name the participating retailers on its website.