A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd has unveiled ambitious plans to more than double the size of its Wholesale Distribution operation in line the company’s overall 2020 strategy.
Blakemore Wholesale Distribution will utilise the scale, infrastructure and expertise of the wider Blakemore Group to achieve a significant expansion of both its customer and supplier base.
The announcement was made by the division’s new managing director, James Russell, as part of a large-scale re-launch of the Wholesale Distribution business.
The new managing director, who was appointed in January, said that he intends to win more business across multiple channels including retail, catering, hospitality, wholesale and vending in addition to launching a new export side to the operation.
“We know that we can add value by providing integrated solutions across multiple sectors and believe that we can win new customers and increase the services that we provide to existing customers,” he said.
Blakemore Wholesale Distribution is recognised as one of the leading suppliers in the vending market and also provides bespoke delivered wholesale solutions and a growing central distribution service in partnership with customers and suppliers.
Russell added: “Blakemore Wholesale Distribution services national contracts for high profile accounts such as BP and Roadchef.
“We can also leverage the significant assets of the Blakemore Group, including our multi-temperature logistics infrastructure, which delivers to more than 960 SPAR stores, in addition to the insight and expertise that comes from being a leading retailer ourselves.
“It is my belief that our growth will come as a result of Blakemore being recognised as the better quality alternative to the large wholesale distribution companies operating within the marketplace.”
Blakemore Wholesale Distribution intends to maximise the opportunities available for suppliers wanting to drive distribution across a wide spectrum of channels including multi-site retail chains, independents, the on-trade and catering.
The business has also taken large steps forwards in developing its export capability and has ambitious plans to distribute the speciality premium products supplied by Blakemore Fine Foods to the key growth regions of Asia and the Middle East.
Russell concluded: “A.F. Blakemore is a company that I have always had the highest regard for and it is a privilege to be appointed managing director at such an exciting time in the organisation’s evolution.
“Our industry is currently undergoing significant change and Blakemore Wholesale Distribution sits right in the middle of this change vortex, offering an outstanding route to market for brand owners, wholesalers and retailers alike.
“Having the opportunity to lead the business in this high growth phase and help shape the industry moving forward is a fantastic opportunity.”
About Blakemore Wholesale Distribution:
Blakemore Wholesale Distribution, established in 2009, is a national and international distribution service whose head office is located at the 84,000 sq ft Apex II warehouse at Great Bridge in the West Midlands.
The division’s core business is focussed upon vending, retail and central distribution in addition to a recently launched export operation. Existing customers include BP, Roadchef, Staples and Primark.
In addition to its central distribution depot at Apex II, Wholesale distribution has full access to the A.F. Blakemore Group Logistics function, which consists of three regional distribution centres with four out-bases and a fleet in excess of 150 vehicles.
About A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd:
A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd was founded in 1917 and is a family-owned food & drink retail, wholesale and distribution business, based at Longacres Industrial Estate in Willenhall, West Midlands. Peter Blakemore is the third generation of the Blakemore family to lead the company, which currently employs more than 7,800 people and has a turnover circa £1.3 billion.
A.F. Blakemore consists of nine separate divisions:
- Retail, which consists of 297 retail SPAR stores
- Trade Partners, which serves 669 independently owned SPAR stores
- Logistics, which distributes to 966 SPAR stores in addition to supporting the wider AFB Group
- Wholesale, which operates 14 cash & carry and delivered depots nationwide
- Wholesale Distribution, a national and international distribution service
- Foodservice, which delivers multi-temperature orders to catering outlets nationwide
- Fresh Foods, a fresh meat wholesaler, distributor and importer
- Design & Shopfitting, which is A.F. Blakemore’s own shop fitting division
- Fine Foods, which helps small, speciality food producers with getting their products to market