Aintree is one of seven depots operated by Parfetts. Opened in 1986, the 87,000 sq ft depot employs 159 people.
General Manager Anthony Fisher-Hibbs has worked at Parfetts for 16 years, since the age of 17.
He tells Wholesale Manager how he manages a growing team that operates a hybrid model to manage traditional and delivered services.
Where are you based?
I’m based in Aintree, Liverpool.
How long have you been in this job?
I have worked for Parfetts for 16 years, since I was 17, initially based in Stockport as a general assistant. I then became a checkout supervisor, then check out manager, before taking a new role as retail development advisor to increase my commercial knowledge. From here, I was offered the opportunity to become a supply chain manager at Anfield, which led to my current role as the general manager of Aintree, a role that I have held for two years.
How do you spend a typical working day?
My day usually starts with a handover from the night manager to receive an update on the orders picked overnight and a meeting with the outbound transport liaison to discuss fulfilling outbound deliveries scheduled for that day. Each morning I also walk the store alongside the supply chain manager to allow us to make an action plan and determine priorities for the day ahead. I oversee the depot throughout the day, fulfilling health and safety commitments and ensuring customer expectations are met and exceeded.
How long has this depot been here?
The Aintree depot opened in 1986 and is 87,000 sq ft. We have recently undergone works to build an outbound canopy, providing 10 lorry bays, which allows our fleet to be loaded efficiently to complete their deliveries and ensure the depot floor is clear and ready for the depot opening.
How many staff do you have and who are the key people on your team?
The Aintree depot currently employs 159 people. There are two supply chain managers, Simon Dunne and Robert Grant, a night shift manager Martin Lampkin, and a delivered manager. As I am present within the depot daily, I often work closely with the goods inward manager, checkout manager, export manager, and cash desk manager. Within the depot, I like to ensure there is an open-door policy, allowing any employee to be able to approach me if required.
What is your weekly turnover, and how does this compare to a year ago?
We have seen an annual growth of approximately 30% on last year’s takings. As a depot, Aintree provides a delivery service, export, click and collect facility, alongside the traditional cash and carry shopping experience. These have all contributed towards the growth of the depot; however, with the addition of the outbound canopy this year, our delivery service has enhanced this growth significantly.
How would you describe your business?
Parfetts is the 6th largest employee-owned company in the UK; however, what began as a traditional cash and carry business has developed into much more. With overnight picking, we have turned the depot into a hybrid – a cash and carry during the day and delivery service overnight. It allows us to reach into areas outside of our traditional cash and carry catchment areas. The Go Local brand provides a fantastic retail club, with an array of fascias, and with the support of our retail development team, helping to support independent retailers to grow their business.
Do you sell cigarettes and tobacco, crisps and snacks, confectionery, canned grocery, chilled grocery, frozen, microwave snacks, wines and spirits?
We sell all of the above, including retail household. Our depot offers over 11,000 products.
What’s your fastest-growing category?
Our fastest-growing category is alcopops. Since COVID 19, we have seen a huge growth in this department due to an increase in stay at home drinking.
Do you buy direct from suppliers?
We buy direct from suppliers; this allows us to be more proactive, keep stock available during supply issues, and quicker turnaround from supplier to shelf.
How much say do you have over products you stock?
As the depot manager, I am in constant communication with the head office traders and buyers regarding range and impulse spikes. This way, we ensure our product ranges reflect our customer needs, and we understand these best.
How do you take payments in the depot?
We take payments by cash, card payment, direct debit, and bank transfers.
Do you take orders online / on the phone?
We take orders online, this can be done via the website or via the app.
Which days is the depot open and what are the trading hours?
The depot is open seven days a week, 364 days a year, as we’re only closed on Christmas Day. We open 7am until 8:30pm Monday to Friday, 7:30am until 4pm Saturday, and 8:30am until 4pm Sunday. Doors close 30 minutes prior to closing.
What geographical area do you cover?
Aintree depot covers the North West of the UK, which ranges from Caernarfon North Wales to White Haven in the Lake District, Blackburn to Stoke. However, Parfetts have seven depots across North England.
Who are your customers?
Independent retailers, pubs, clubs, restaurants.
Do you have forklift trucks?
We have more than 10 forklift trucks, and we have a number of trained staff to operate them.