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    Supermarket giant set to pump £6 million into the development of the artisan business, which has seen losses increase after a rapid expansion

    Tesco’s artisan coffee business Harris + Hoole has seen its pre-tax loss double, following a rapid expansion of the business.

    The trendy chain opened 22 new shops in the most recent financial year, taking the total number of stores it has to 45.

    The business posted a pre-tax loss of £25.6 million in the year ending 1 March 2015, compared to £12.8m for the year ending the 23rd of February 2014, accounts held at Companies House reveal.

    The accounts also reveal that the business is set to need £6m of further funding from Tesco up to the end of 2017 in order to meet its financial obligations.

    Speaking in the report accompanying the accounts, the directors noted: “The UK coffee market is highly competitive and already served by a number of international, national and local competitors.”

    Tesco has reportedly so far committed to continue to provide financial support for at least another 12 months, and has said it intends to support up to £7.5m of funding, according to the Daily Telegraph.

    The supermarket is also not seeking the repayment of its existing £48m loan to Harris + Hoole, and the interest it is owed by the business for the next year.

    Tesco’s former chief executive Philip Clarke identified the business’ investment in Harris + Hoole as an opportunity to drive footfall into its Tesco Extra stores, as well as it providing an opportunity to tap into the growing casual dining scene.

    The man previously in charge of Tesco’s collection of in-store restaurants and coffee shops, Michael Holmes, was ousted in March as part of new CEO Dave Lewis’ personnel clearout.

    Losses mount at Tesco JV coffee chain Harris + Hoole

    Moy Park has announced a massive £10 million investment, which will lead to the creation of 100 new jobs. 

    The investment covers the Ashbourne area in Derbyshire and covers both its Ashbourne hatchery and processing facility. 

    As a result of the investment, the company will be able to increase processing capacity to over one million birds per week with the installation of a new cutting line, processing equipment and refrigeration chilling technology.

    “This is a really exciting development for Ashbourne, which will see the hatchery and the factory transformed into state-of-the art facilities employing the most technologically advanced equipment,” said Alan Gibson, Moy Park UK and Ireland director.

    In addition, Moy Park has announced an investment programme at its Ashbourne hatchery. This will lead to an increased capacity of 1.2m chicks per week, allowing Moy Park to meet an increasing demand for high-quality, locally sourced poultry products for its customers. 

    The investment programme is part of Moy Park’s wider growth strategy. In order to deliver the best possible products to its consumers, the company has already made significant investments in its farming and operational facilities. 

    “This multimillion pound investment will meet the highest standards of animal welfare, hygiene and biosecurity,” added Gibson. 

    “We are committed to providing a best-in-class service for our customers and leading the way in terms of product quality and innovation. These investments are a very positive development for Ashbourne and there is a great feeling of optimism amongst the team as we position the business for continued growth,” he added. 

    Investment leads to 100 new jobs for Moy Park

    The retailer said that it believed this was thanks in part to a Christmas direct marketing campaign “landing with customers”

    Total divisional sales excluding fuel were up 4.7% on last year at Waitrose for the week ending 14 November 2015.

    The retailer said that it believed this was thanks in part to a Christmas direct marketing campaign “landing with customers”.

    Waitrose’s online channel also delivered, with grocery sales 26.1% higher than last year following a promotion.

    Fruit performed well in the period covered, with frozen fruit up by a third, soft fruit up 9%, and pears up 4% respectively.

    Sweet potato sales, meanwhile, were up 32% on the same week last year.

    Waitrose sales up, spearheaded by strong fruit figures

    It’s been a fifth successive quarter of falling revenue at Asda, as CEO laments the “challenge” nature of the UK grocery market

    Asda has seen like-for-like sales fall by 4.5% in the three months to the end of September, its fifth quarter of falling revenue.

    In the previous quarter, Asda’s sales slumped 4.7%, marking its worst performance in its 50-year history.

    The retailer said, sales volumes remained under pressure from discount supermarkets such as Aldi & Lidl.

    Asda chief executive Andy Clarke said the UK grocery market continued to be “challenging”.

    It is now the worst performing of the Big Four supermarkets.

    Nevertheless, Clarke added that Asda had the “financial strength and clear plan to sustain us through this period, while we take appropriate and considered action to further strengthen our competitive position”.

    Discount pressure continues to hit Asda sales

    Veg Lovers aims to tempt new consumers into trying fresh prepared lines by focusing on core, successful products

    QV Foods has extended its Veg Lovers brand into prepared produce.

    Sister brand to QV Foods’ Potato Lovers range, Veg Lovers aims to encourage and tempt new consumers into trying fresh prepared lines by focusing on “core, successful products” rather than “baffling them with an array of choices”.

    The move to establish Veg Lovers comes after QV Foods was tasked by one of its customers to bring a new branded range of fresh prepared vegetables and potatoes to market in less than a month.

    The packaging has been designed to try and simply convey the name of the product and its contents, whilst looking good on shelf.

    Sales and marketing director Simon Martin: “Everyone at QV worked really closely to create this range. From the pack imagery to the cooking instructions, it’s been a real team effort.

    “Since launching, the Veg Lovers’ prepared range has seen astonishing double digit week-on-week growth, meaning that consumers are indeed identifying with the brand and the products.

    “QV Foods’ development team plan to ensure that a steady stream of innovative new lines are rolled out into the brand over the course of next year, whilst keeping to the philosophy of focusing on proven formats.”

    QV Foods extends its brand into prepared

    Lincolnshire store offered crate of free fruit to children saying it wants to encourage healthy eating

    A Tesco store has impressed shoppers by offering free fruit for children to eat while their parents shop.

    The Lincolnshire store put a notice up by a crate full of fruit consisting of: bananas, oranges, apples, berries and other fruit, saying it wanted to encourage healthy eating.

    Shopper Vicci Skinn posted a photo of the sign on Tesco’s Facebook page. It said: “Hi parents. Please feel free to take a piece of fruit on us for your children to eat whilst you shop.

    “We would like to encourage healthy eating and make your shopping trip that bit easier.

    “Enjoy your day and thank you for shopping at Tesco Brigg!!”

    Skinn wrote under the post: “I just wanted to say how wonderful it was to see this display in our local Tesco today. After seeing all the sweets out for Hallowe’en this made a refreshing change.”

    Tesco responded to the post to say: “Hi Vicci. This is fantastic to see! I’m glad you appreciate the free fruit our store offers.”

    Tesco offers free fruit to kids while parents shop

    Retailer will stock wonky carrots, potatoes, onions and parsnips in new range after Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall highlights food waste

    Morrisons is launching a new permanent range of wonky vegetables before the end of this year at a discounted price.

    The new range will include wonky veg such as onions, potatoes, carrots and parsnips, Morrisons told FPJ. A spokesperson said the retailer already sells Class 2 carrots as part of its Savers range, but the new wonky range is a new addition.

    The news comes following a programme by celebrity chef and food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, named Hugh’s War on Waste, where he gave away outgrade parsnips outside a London branch of Morrisons to highlight the problem of food waste.

    In response, the retailer conducted a trial of selling wonky courgettes alongside Class One courgettes, but found that the ‘ugly’ vegetables sold much more slowly which was anticipated. Morrisons said this was because it had been priced the same as the Class One produce, and wonky veg only works when it is discounted.

    Fearnley-Whittingstall criticised the trial as “pathetic” and told the Guardian newspaper that placing Class One next to substandard produce is “not what we’re asking supermarkets to do”.

    It’s not the first time a celebrity chef has been instrumental in prompting a supermarket to stock outgrade produce – earlier this year Jamie Oliver persuaded Asda to launch its first-ever range of wonky fruit and vegetables after meeting growers as part of his Channel 4 series Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.

    Morrisons to launch permanent wonky veg range

    Analysts say supermarket is moving in the right direction despite decline in sales over the latest quarter

    Morrisons has insisted it is making “good progress” against its targets despite posting a sales decline in the latest quarter

    Like-for-like sales excluding fuel fell 2.6% in the 13 weeks to 1 November, with the retailer pointing out that investment in lower prices brought 2.2% deflation in the period and 5.3% deflation on a two-year basis.

    Morrisons also reduced the number of vouchers it accepted, whch hit third-quarter sales to the tune of 2.4%.

    The company predicted that underlying pre-tax profit would be higher in the second half of 2015-16 than in the first, with net space sales growth of around 0.5% following the closure of 11 supermarkets and the sale of 140 M local stores. 

    Chief executive David Potts said: “The business is moving at pace on the long journey towards improving the shopping trip for customers. Our priorities for the rest of the year are unchanged – to stabilise trading, reduce costs and further improve the capability of the leadership team. 

    “We are making good progress in many areas and customers are noticing improvements.”

    David Gray, an analyst at Planet Retail, said the numbers represented “limited progress”, but pointed out that it puts Morrisons behind key competitors Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

    “Even so, credit must be given to Morrisons’ new management under David Potts for taking some tough but necessary decisions to protect the long-term profitability of the business – exiting convenience and the price comparison loyalty scheme, Match & More,” he said. “Both initiatives were a major cost and their removal will allow the chain to invest in the core proposition, hypermarkets and superstores. This after all is where Morrisons makes the vast majority of its sales and profits.

    “Morrisons may be moving in the right direction under new management though this has yet to show in the numbers.”

    Morrisons suffers Q3 sales decline

    Going forward, M&S has planned and targeted to concentrate on increasing food sales

    Sales at Marks & Spencer have fallen for the six months to the 26th of September.

    UK like-for-like sales fell by 0.4% for the period, and while sales of general merchandise, which includes the clothing division, were down by 1.2%, food sales rose by 0.2%.

    The retailer said underlying profits rose by 6.1% to £284 million, although after taking into account one-off items, pre-tax profit fell 22.7% to £216m.

    Those one-off items included almost £27m on revamping UK stores and £22m on European store costs.

    M&S noted that it plans to concentrate on increasing food sales, gross margins and cash generation.

    M&S sales fall, but food sales rise
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