‘Waitrose of the north’ posts £2.2m sales loss amid trading pressures

Louis Ashworth
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The Booths store in Lytham St Anne’s, in Lancashire

Booths, the Lancashire-based supermarket chain dubbed “the Waitrose of the north” for its focus on high-quality food, posted a £2.2m loss on sales but cut its overall losses in half, its latest results revealed.

The family-owned-and-operated supermarket, which has 28 stores across Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Cheshire and Greater Manchester, saw its losses before taxation fall to £5.5m, from £13.5m the year before, as it spent money on development in a range of areas.

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Chairman and chief executive Edward Booth said the company was: “improving the customer experience in stores, delivering great value produce, cultivating new markets and rediscovering what make Booths a special and unique retailer.”

Booths, which was founded Blackpool in 1847, said “lower trading results” and “continued pressure” from national living wage costs increases had put pressure on the business, but that losses had been offset by cost reductions elsewhere.

Last year, it was reported that the company was looking for a potential buyer, at a value of £130m–150m, following a rough period in which it had been particularly affected by the fallout from Storm Desmond, which damaged several of its locations in December 2015.

It recently struck a deal with online retail titan Amazon, in which some of its own-brand goods would be supplied to the Amazon Fresh delivery platform, resulting in its products being sold in several areas of London.

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In 2008, it formed a ‘buying alliance’ with Waitrose to find supply-chain synergies.

The chain has cut prices on some core lines and developed its own-brand range in an attempt to grow its customer base.

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