The Year Starts Here
Posted by Paul Hargreaves on
The Grocer confirmed in this week’s issue that the wife of Waitrose CEO, Mark Price, has been the director of a business that has been treating food suppliers appalling for years
Her company never once paid their invoices on time, frequently taking over 90, and finally went into administration just before last Christmas - at the time of year when they had most stock in the shop. This is, of course, the best way of gaining most free stock from their suppliers, whom they now won’t be paying.
To see £3,500 going down the pan like this is frustrating to say the least. Even more so that the site is still trading as Plant & Harvest, simply under a different limited company name. The shares of the new company are owned in entirety, by a 76 year-old gardener, which raises the question of whether this is a phoenix company, actually controlled by the previous directors, including Judith Price. We may never know the answer to that question, but from previous experience it is very frustrating how often a phoenix company mysteriously arises out of the ashes. We wait and see if the Grocer’s investigation unearths any new information.
Despite the bad debts I wrote about last time, it has been a very encouraging spring. I was quoted recently in Fine Food Digest, as describing last year “like wading through treacle”. Well this spring the treacle has turned into a much lighter syrup. Easter seems to have been a reasonably trading period for customers, and we are receiving many orders at present for the Jubilee range, which caused most interest at the show a couple of weeks ago. My tip on this would be to merchandise heavily for the Jubilee, and then take it down and merchandise a second time for the Olympics. This will make the Olympic display fresh rather than making it look like a faded Jubilee display.
The passing of Easter must mean that Christmas is on its way! Our Christmas 2012 catalogue goes to the printers this week, and the sell-in starts at the beginning of May. Sorry if this is all too depressing!
My main focus for the next few weeks is to sell tables for our Charity Summer Ball in July. We have sold nearly 100 seats, so another 200 to go. Places are available to anyone in the Speciality Food sector, and it will prove to be quite an event with many familiar faces there. I hope you can join us.