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Soft drinks brand Coldpress has sold a significant minority stake in return for a more than £2m investment to expand further into on-the-go and on-trade channels.

The full exclusive story is on The Grocer’s finance channel at

The money comes from private consumer fund Odexia Consumer Brand Fund, a joint venture between investment firm Odexia and specialist corporate finance advisory house Marechale Capital.

It is the first investment in food & drink by the fund, which has previously backed three business in the wider consumer space.

Odexia, which invests £300,000 to £1m in companies with “high-growth potential”, is eyeing further fmcg targets to add to its portfolio later this year.

Coldpress secured a £2.3m injection – made up of £1m from the Odexia fund and a co-investment from Marechale’s family office and high-net worth clients.

It plans to use the money to rapidly build its distribution capability beyond grocery, where it has listings in 3,500 Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Whole Foods Market, into food to go, the on-trade and private label.

“We feel it is the perfect moment to forge ahead, expand our sales and marketing function, accelerate our unrivalled innovation pipeline and open up other influential distribution channels both at home and abroad,” founder Andrew Gibb told The Grocer.

To read the full story click here.

Morning update

Elsewhere on, there is an in-depth analysis of the Dawn Meats/Dunbia merger. The deal has created the second largest red meat group in the industry, behind ABP. So what’s driven the deal, and how will it affect the market? We answer all the big questions here.

Sales on the high street declined for the third month in a row in May, with fashion retailers the hardest hit, according to monthly data from accountancy firm BDO.

UK retailers saw May’s overall like-for-like trading drop by -1.3%, the High Street Sales Tracker showed.

The fashion sector recorded year-on-year sales fall of -3.6%, despite a low base of -1.9% in May 2016. Fashion sales were negative in the first three weeks of May, and the figures for the month make it the fourth of the year to see no in-store growth, suggesting a worrying downward spiral for clothing retailers, BDO said.

High bellwether Mark & Spencer has struggled in the past year to turnaround its struggling clothing division, with recent results revealing the decline in sales accelerated in its fourth quarter.

Homewares retailers fared better in May, posting like-for-like growth of 1.2% off a strong base in 2016.

But the real winner was the lifestyle sector, BDO added. Buoyed by record tourist numbers and a weak pound, sales of lifestyle goods grew 3.9% year-on-year, making it the sixth month of positive growth in a row for the sector.

“Retailers are facing turbulent times with rising operational costs, higher import prices and economic uncertainty,” said Sophie Michael, BDO head of retail and wholesale. “These factors result in higher inflation and therefore lower discretionary spend.

“Prolonged blanket discounting is not sustainable but shoppers need incentives to make the purchase. So it appears that most retailers have chosen to run targeted, short-term discounting in an attempt to ignite spending and protect further erosion to margins.

“Retailers should continue with targeted discounting but must also remain focused on product and quality whilst providing an enjoyable shopping experience to attract the customer back in store. They will be hoping for these turbulent times to calm and, once they do, the right strategies should pay dividends.”

The FTSE 100 has leapt to new highs this morning of 7,598.99 points (up almost 1%), helped by the weaker pound (which is down 0.2% against the dollar).

There are plenty of early risers in the grocery stocks, including Cranswick (CWK), up by 2.2% to 3,024p, Unilever (ULVR), up 1.4% to 4,379.5p, and British American Tobacco (BAT), up 1.3% to 5,580p.

B&M European Value Retail came back down from yesterday, with a fall of 3% to 359.4p.

Yesterday in the City

It was a quiet day in the grocery world in terms of news flow on the London Stock Exchange.

Marks & Spencer (MKS) slumped 1.9% to 375.3p. The stock has risen so far this year as the retailer started to increase its margins as it discounted its clothes less heavily. However, the latest retail tracker for May by BDO (see above) showed fashion retailers are being hit hardest as high street sales fall for third month in a row.

Other fallers included PZ Cussons (PZC), down 0.9% to 342.5p, Conviviality (CVR), down 1.9% to 335.6p, and Sainsbury’s (SBRY), down 0.5% to 279.5p.

Britvic (BVIC) led the way for the risers, jumping 3.4% to 716.2p, with Hilton Food Group (HFG), up 2.9% to 770p, and B&M European Value Retail (BME), climbing 1.6% to 370.1p.

Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) also increased by 1.7% to 2,292p, along with rises for Diageo (DGE), up 0.8% to 2,345.5p, Dairy Crest (DGE), up 1.2% to 618p, and Booker Group (BOK), up 0.8% to 201p.

After hitting an intra-day record – before falling by the end of trading – the FTSE 100 was back in positive territory, increasing 0.3% to 7,543.77 points.