New Telford depot sees Cress Co expand into Wales, Midlands and South West
The Cress Co is opening a new depot in Telford that will allow it to expand its geographical reach into Wales and the South West of England – and increase the area it will able to source products from.
The distributor’s new premises are set to be live from February and will house its own delivery vans that will serve new customers in these areas.
The company also operates similar delivery hubs in Wetherby, North Yorkshire, and Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. These receive trunked deliveries of chilled and ambient goods, from Cress’s main warehouse at its Scottish HQ in Dunfermline, that are then sorted for weekly deliveries.
Head buyer at The Cress Co Nikki Castley told FFD that the latest expansion had been scheduled for later in 2021 but a strong performance last year and demand had accelerated the move.
“I think Wales has been untapped but it will be a learning curve, and we’ve been on the periphery of Bristol and Bath so we can see the potential in these areas,” she said. “Now, with our better brand awareness, we’re getting more enquiries.”
She added that the move will also present sourcing opportunities, with the company’s vans able to pick up stock from new small suppliers.
Despite the challenging trading conditions in 2020, Castley said that Cress saw significant double-digit year-on-year growth in sales, with retail sales covering any gaps caused by the loss of foodservice orders.
“Demand was coming from new and existing retail customers for more items and that was being driven by customers going to them rather than supermarkets. In a strange way, COVID has brought awareness to independent retailers.”
The distributor’s newest catalogue reflects the change in shoppers’ demands. Chilled was a big growth area, said Castley, adding that there were more basics and storecupboard staples joining the range to sit alongside the variety of higher-end food and drink. In total, 19 new suppliers will be coming on board.
Castley said she hoped that the move would finally put The Cress Co’s historic “Scottish distributor” tag to bed.
“We’ve worked really hard to try and shake that off. And I think that’s already flipped a bit.”
“Customers don’t really pigeonhole us much as a Scottish distributor. It’s more that suppliers contact us because they haven’t got any coverage in Scotland.”