A home delivery service will be made available for up to 1,500 convenience stores across Scotland.

The country’s largest independent cash and carry firm, United Wholesale (Scotland), has signed a long-term deal with Glasgow-based technology firm DrinkSorted to provide the service.

The move will take the number of stores registered with DrinkSorted up to 1,500 over the coming months, making it one of the largest home delivery platforms in Scotland following its launch in 2019.

The deal is expected to help secure the future of local businesses and jobs, as well as increase the convenience stores’ slice of the UK’s £12billion-a-year online grocery market by allowing them to compete more with supermarkets.

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United Wholesale (Scotland) and DrinkSorted expect to handle over 250,000 orders each month, with an average basket spend of £22.
The DrinkSorted app will be made available to stores which are part of the United Wholesale network, including its chain of 500 Day-Today and USave shops, and around 1,000 independent convenience stores.

United Wholesale (Scotland) is the country’s largest independent cash and carry firm, with two cash and carry depots in Glasgow and one in Grangemouth.

Between the three depots there are over 6,000 visits per week by independent retailers, with turnover of £233 million for the year to December 2018.
DrinkSorted was originally set up to provide home delivery of alcoholic drinks within one hour, and has since adapted by expanding to include a full range of grocery products.

The fast-growing platform has three mobile phone apps: one for customers; one for delivery drivers; and one for merchants.

When customers download the app it identifies the nearest store providing deliveries.

There is no minimum spend and no surcharge with prices the same as instore, with a low delivery charge.

Retailers have full control over instant pricing and offers.

DrinkSorted already has existing deals with various independent retailers under various fascias across the UK, including Costcutter, KeyStore, Spar and Best-One, as well as online whisky specialists Scotch Whisky World.
Chris Gallacher, managing director of United Wholesale (Scotland), said: “Scotland’s convenience stores are at the heart of their local communities, and throughout the coronavirus pandemic we have continued supplying them to ensure they can provide groceries for their customers.

“With the addition of the DrinkSorted app, it will make our retailers even more convenient for customers with quick delivery of essential items without them ever leaving their homes.

“It also ensures local stores can take a slice of the online grocery shopping spend from the big supermarkets in the UK, which is the fastest growing purchase channel in terms of value and growth.”
Deepak Bali, chief executive of DrinkSorted, said: “These are difficult times for convenience stores and customers, so we’re delighted that millions of people will now be able to use our home delivery app in Scotland and across the rest of the UK.

“This will not only transform the growing home delivery market for consumers who are staying at home, but it will help shopkeepers survive the inevitable economic downturn.

“It will also change the way people purchase basic impulse products going forward and it will help local stores to increase current turnovers.”

Ryanair has said it expects passenger numbers to almost halve in the current financial year as it warns that it faces a "difficult" year ahead following the impact of coronavirus.

It came as the company reported a 13% increase in profits to one billion euro (£890 million) for the year ending March, but expects to deliver significant losses in the current quarter.

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The discount airliner said it saw an increase in passengers for the full year but has so far operated less than 1% of its scheduled flights since the start of April.

It also told investors that it has sufficient funds to "weather Covid-19 and emerge stronger when the crisis passes".

Ryanair is currently in the midst of consultations over base closures, up to 3,000 job cuts - mainly affecting pilots and cabin crew - and pay cuts as it looks to keep its costs low in the face of coronavirus.

The Irish carrier said it nevertheless expects to post a loss of more than 200 million euro (£178 million) for the quarter to the end of June.

It said it expects this to be followed a smaller loss in the second quarter amid a "substantial decline in traffic and pricing" due to the coronavirus groundings.

It comes after profits jumped in the previous full year, as it reported a 10% increase in revenues to 8.4 billion euro (£7.6 billion).

Ryanair said it expects passenger numbers for the current year to be "less than 80 million" after reducing its target of 100 million given last week, and significantly lower than its original target of 154 million.

In a statement, Ryanair said: "Full year 2021 will be difficult for the Ryanair Group as its airlines work hard to return to scheduled flying following the Covid-19 crisis.

"As we look beyond the next year, there will be significant opportunities for Ryanair's low cost, growth model as competitors shrink, fail or are acquired by government bailed out carriers."

Braehead Shopping Centre owner Intu has said it expects to breach covenants on its current debts as its shopping centres struggle in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares in the company nudged lower as it said that talks with its lenders over its finances are continuing.

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The shopping centre owner said its sites remain closed, except for essential stores, but warned that the speed of the market recovery after the lockdown remains unclear.

Earlier this month, Intu secured debt waivers until June 26 but said it still expects to breach its debt commitments by this deadline amid falling rental payments.

The company, which also owns the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, said it will standstill agreements with creditors to ride out the current crisis.

A standstill deal would allow it to halt testing and repayments of its debt facilities until no later than December 2021, it said.

Intu is one of a number of shopping centre owners, such as Hammerson and British Land, who have been hard hit by the health crisis.

The retail landlord said the crisis heavily impacted its ability to secure rent payments in March, with some retailers choosing not to pay rents.

Some retailers have also collapsed into administration or confirmed that they will permanently shut stores in the aftermath of the crisis.

Intu was already under financial pressure as it came into the coronavirus pandemic, selling properties in the UK and Spain in recent years to help prop up its finances.

Shares in Intu were down 0.35% to 4.3p in early trading on Monday.