Wednesday, April 15, 2015

News: Crawshaw shows appetite for growth

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Crawshaws, the Rotherham-based meat focused retailer, has acquired Gabbotts Farm Limited for £3.9m, as it puts into action its ambitious expansion plans.

The AIM-listed firm currently has 23 retail outlets throughout Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Humberside and recently moved onto Sandbeck Industrial Estate at Hellaby, occupying a 12,000 sq ft unit for the manufacture and distribution of specialist foods.

Gabbotts Farm Limited is the holding company for Gabbotts Farm (Retail) Limited which operates 11 retail butchers units, which includes a factory meat mart attached to a small distribution centre, in the North West of England. The retail format is almost identical to that of the Crawshaws, selling quality fresh meats and food to go at value prices.

Gabbotts Farm (Retail) Limited generated a turnover of around £10.8m and EBITDA (earning before taxes) of £0.8m (before group management fees and one off costs) for the financial year ended December 31, 2014. Crawshaws believe that the acquisition will increase earnings immediately and provide them with access to customers in a completely new geographical region, as well as presenting the potential for operational synergies to further enhance profitability.

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Noel Collett, chief executive officer at Crawshaw, said: "This acquisition provides a well established retail portfolio and factory operation in a new geographical region which is an integral part of our expansion strategy and the start of our exciting journey of achieving 200 stores. Furthermore, the operational synergies and the new supply chain network can rapidly enhance sales and profitability".

Newly appointed Collett is formerly Lidl's chief operating officer for the UK business and joins as Crawshaws heads towards its ambitious target of 200 shops within eight years. Last year it announced details of the placing of new shares in a bid to raise nearly £9m to support the acceleration of its store opening programme.

As the firm looks to appoint a new property acquisition executive, a deal has recently been concluded for Crawshaw to open its first store in Leeds, at the Merrion Centre. The new 962 sq ft store will receive a full refurbishment before opening its doors mid-May.

Kevin Boyd, managing director of Crawshaw, said: "We can't wait to open the doors of our new Merrion Centre shop. After a three year wait I've finally got the site that I've been looking for! It's a fantastic centre with great footfall and it's a really up and coming area – the Arena Quarter is growing all of the time and we're excited to be part of it.

"We're confident that our fresh, high quality meats will be a big hit with shoppers, nearby office employees and students. With the finest cuts of meat and gold award winning sausages our offering of high quality produce at great prices is going to be hard to resist."

Established in 1954, Crawshaw Group plc has been trading on the stock market since 2004. It was acquired by Felix Group plc in 2008. In its financial results for the six months to July 31 2014, Crawshaw reported total sales of £11.8m, up from £9.8m in 2013. Christmas trading was in line with management expectations and like for like sales for the financial year ending January 2015 were up 5%, building further on the increase of 11% in the previous year.

Crawshaw website

Images: Crawshaw

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