Country Range bucks trend with healthy sales growth

Country Range Group is doing considerably better than its major competitors in the foodservice sector at growing sales, according to corporate director Chris Creed.

He told a 250-strong audience at the group’s annual conference: “We are currently trading at a massive 17% up on 2004. By contrast, we know that all the big boys are struggling on traditional foodservice.”

Creed said CRG also grew sales well in 2004, finishing the year 13% ahead on turnover. “It was a fantastic performance and a whole lot better than our national competitors. The best of the rest was 3663, which was up 10%, while DBC finished the year at plus 5% and Brakes ended up no better than 2003,” he said.

However, Creed warned that both Brakes and 3663’s involvement in mainland Europe would increase their buying power and product knowledge. He said: “We have seen examples of products sourced from eastern Europe. There’s no doubt we’ll have to keep a close eye on this situation so we too can take advantage of potential cost savings.”

Looking ahead Creed said Country Range members would need to focus on margin. “We need to increase our operating margins to fund reinvestment. Our businesses are not cheap to run and we need that margin, especially as we cope with the recent significant rise in fuel prices.”

He also said members of the group needed to consider whether multi-temperature delivery was right for their business. “I believe the independent foodservice market will be dominated by multi-temperature distribution 10 years from now. Having said that, there will still be room for independent businesses with single or dual temperature offerings.”

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