The confectionery market is undeniably huge, interesting, fun and packed with a colourful and lively history whichever way you look. Hancocks has been leading the UK market for wholesale confectionery since 1962; its experience, knowledge, expertise and range surpassing that of any subsequent wholesaler. In fact you could say that Hancocks invented the wholesale confectionery market!
From sweet shop origins
Hancocks was first established by Ray Hancock in 1962. He was running a corner sweet shop with his wife Liz in Shepshed, near Loughborough, Leicestershire. The busy shop was lucky to have more storage space than it required and Ray was a good negotiator with his suppliers! As a result, Ray started to buy larger quantities of confectionery from the many manufacturers in order to get a better price, storing the surplus stock above his shop and selling it on to other local businesses. This became a winning scenario for all concerned.
Before too long, Ray was running out of space; his enterprising scheme had become rather popular. The first Hancocks Cash & Carry opened in Loughborough in 1962 and the story of this unique business started to unfold.
Read more about the history of Hancocks, the confectionery wholesaler here.
Leading the wholesale confectionery market
No other business has been so dedicated to the category of confectionery for so long and in such an enormous way. Turning over £130m in 2015, Hancocks boasts 14 specialist confectionery cash & carries in addition to a rapidly growing online business and a direct confectionery distribution arm serving larger organisations and leisure groups. Hancocks lives, breathes and even eats sweets and chocolates day in and day out – consistently since 1962.
It’s fair to say that with such commitment to the category for so long, Hancocks knows a thing or two about confectionery. The team know their Gobstoppers from their Jelly Beans and could talk until Christmas (next year!) about pick and mix sweets, top selling children’s sweets, branded confectionery, gifting ideas and seasonal opportunities.
Working closely with in excess of 60 confectionery manufacturers in the UK and much further afield, a dedicated buying team can boast a range of more than 5,000 branded and own label confectionery products in each cash & carry. No other wholesaler can claim such an enviable range of different sweets and chocolates – the delightful smell hits your taste buds the minute you step into a cash & carry and you’re left breathing it in deeply and slowly, wondering what tempting aisle you should delve into first.
Want to visit one of our cash & carries? Click here to see where your closest depot is.
Helping all manner of retailers and businesses
So just who is buying confectionery from Hancocks? The short answer is in the region of 33,000 businesses! From small, start-up businesses and local stores to much larger organisations and groups, Hancocks supplies them all. Independent retailers thrive on the knowledge and friendly service that they can enjoy, coupled with a huge range of confectionery and competitive pricing. Every depot could recount a story of walking round the cash & carry with a new customer and helping them to decide what confectionery range they should buy and what opportunities might work for their business – such is the helpful and hands on approach of Hancocks.
Need it in a hurry? Starting buying wholesale confectionery right now.
The confectionery calendar
The category advice to come out of Hancocks is endless and extremely helpful to so many businesses. Perhaps the first issue is to understand how the confectionery retailing calendar tends to work. Careful planning around this structure can reap enormous and very profitable rewards. Here’s just a snapshot of what to expect:
January: The month of Crème Egg and planning for the spring season. Valentine’s Day will soon be here and whilst dieting might give sugar free sweets a bit of a push, we’ll all soon be hankering for heart shaped sweets and Easter chocolate.
February: Some finishing touches to Valentine’s confectionery might be required (keep the display looking fantastic) whilst Mother’s Day will not be far off, so keep a good gifting range in stock.
March: Thank you Mum and watch out for Easter! Many sales are last minute and whilst the supermarkets might be fighting for the core branded egg sales, there are many more ideas and opportunities around Easter confectionery.
April: Spring is on the way. A great time to review and refresh the range to make way for some summer sweets ideas.
May: Make good use of the bank holidays and half term as families plan breaks away and day trips – there’s always a need for confectionery! Bring in some summer ideas and see how they fare early in the season.
June: Don’t forget Father’s Day – he loves confectionery! Beef up your summer range and freshen up your pick and mix display ready for the warmer months. Have you got some great ideas for a “thank you teacher” present?
July: School’s out! You might lose your after-school sales this month but take advantage of family days out and any tourist opportunities. Consider categories that sell around confectionery such as soft drinks and ice pops and poles.
August: Don’t leave it too late to review your range of children’s sweets ready for the new school year. Whether you have a primary school, high school or college close by, they will all soon be back to buy their confectionery supplies from you.
September: This is the month to plan your Christmas confectionery range carefully. Think about your customer profile, price points and competitors. Hancocks has lots of experience here and plenty of exclusive products to help you create a real point of difference.
October: Take some time to work up a fun range of Halloween confectionery. It’s big business and fast becoming the second most important season in the calendar after Christmas. Treacle Toffee might be a good idea too!
November: The sales should really start to pick up on Christmas confectionery this month. Be sure to keep an eye on your stock. Consider seasonal treats, stocking fillers, tree decorations, token gifts and larger more indulgent presents. Remember that children will want to purchase gifts at their price levels in addition to grown-ups.
December: Plenty of last minute Christmas confectionery sales of course, in addition to the party season. The classic items we all gift to party hosts are a bottle of wine and…a box of chocolates! If they can see them, they will buy them.
We spot the trends so that you don’t have to
Lastly, Hancocks has a really important job to do for its many customers – trend spotting. With its finger on the pulse, the confectionery wholesaler was lighteningly quick to spot the retro trend following the demise of Woolworths and the onset of the recession. Hancocks was first to market with Sour Blue Raspberry Bon Bons; the beginning of the trend for all things blue. You can take advantage of the American Sweets trend at Hancocks, choosing from an ever growing range of confectionery from across the pond whilst the increasing popularity of sour sweets is clearly evident in the choice that Hancocks can offer across its entire range.
Welcome to the undisputed oracle for confectionery!