While a five million pound loss following on from a similar loss the previous year is a serious situation, it seems tragic that this should lead to DBC’s collapse considering the bigger, more serious obstacles this company has overcome in the past few years.
For decades DBC had been a quietly successful company until in 2007 it was purchased by the smaller Woodward Foodservice, then owned by the Icelandic company Baugur that also owned Booker. A disastrous attempt to integrate the two foodservice companies followed.
By the time Andrew Ramsden took over a year later he inherited what he described as a “fundamentally broken company”, and losses exceeding pound;30m. He separated the two companies, sold off Woodward, and returned DBC to profit. Then in 2009 DBC was bought by a trio including Iceland boss Malcolm Walker (ironically he had bought Woodward in 1997 and was responsible for it ending up with Baugur). Perhaps he has been distracted by trying to buy back Iceland, but Walker’s pledge to staff to bring “certainty and stability” to DBC has not been realised.
l As the article below right of this column reports, this will be the last issue of Wholesale News published by WRBM, and after seven years as editor I will also be stepping down. Over my 16 years with William Reed I have developed a strong interest in the independent sector, and particularly the wholesalers supplying it, and many of the people involved in it have become friends.
I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me over my time here and be assured that I will continue to play a role in this vibrant, entrepreneurial sector in the years to come.