Farmison shop opening (1 of 1)

Source: Farmison & Co 

The upmarket online retailer has also partnered with rapid delivery business Gopuff, 50 days after it was relaunched by ex-Asda boss Andy Clarke

Farmison & Co has appointed retail veteran Andy Adcock as its new CEO, exactly 50 days after the collapsed online meat retailer was rescued out of administration by a consortium led by former Asda boss Andy Clarke.

The revived business has also partnered with instant delivery service Gopuff – with customers in its London distribution area able to receive 12 core Farmison products, including bacon, sausages chicken and steaks, within 15 minutes of ordering.

Adcock has spent 20 years in food and trading roles for both Marks & Spencer and Asda, “bringing significant experience of food retailing” to the business, Farmison said.

He started work in his new role today, with Clarke saying he had “every confidence Adcock would “bring even more momentum as we build a sustainable future for our business”.

The past 50 days has seen the upmarket meat business – which collapsed into administration on 6 April after rescue talks to save it proved fruitless – initiate a phased reopening under Clarke’s guidance as executive chairman.

Developments so far include the recruitment of more than 40 staff at its Ripon base, rising to more than 55 by the autumn. Most of the Farmison team had worked for the business before its collapse.

Farmison has also relaunched its online butcher’s subscription service (which allows customers to save on meat boxes) and is offering a BBQ essentials meat box for £35, with a 10% discount.

The retailer has additionally unveiled NPD via a new range of “highly accessible” BBQ rubs (rsp: £7.95 for three), and in the run-up to Father’s Day this weekend is offering a bourbon and treacle Tomahawk steak developed by Farmison’s Michelin starred chef Jeff Baker.

Former Asda boss Andy Clarke on his plans for Farmison

Elsewhere, the business said it had now completed work “to bring its north of England network of farms and farmers back on board so it can continue to offer the grass-fed, heritage breed meat that its customers love and support”.

Farmison has also put in place new arrangements with delivery partner DPD, allowing it to offer customers free weekend delivery for the first time in its trading history.

Meanwhile, it has extended click & collect hours at its Ripon shop Cut by Farmison, which is now is open at weekends.

“We’ve made incredible progress over the past 50 days,” said Clarke.

“And while there’s still plenty of work to do, our objective is to make sure Farmison comes back stronger than before. That’s why we’re investing in new ranges, enhanced service and new partnerships that bring more access to the incredible meat we offer.”

Customer and farmer feedback since Farmison began trading again had been “highly positive and sales have been pleasing”, the retailer added, while the relaunch had been welcomed by Farmison’s meat suppliers.

“While the last few months have been difficult, suppliers like us need Farmison to be the success we know it deserves to be,” said Lindsey McIntyre, owner of McIntyre Meats in the Yorkshire Dales.  

“I was pleased Andy Clarke came to see us in person after acquiring the business. I’m looking forward to him bringing the leadership Farmison needs to thrive and grow once more.”

Farmison sells online directly to customers across the UK, and through wholesale channels such as Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Michelin-starred restaurants.

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It comes as a report by Farmison administrator FRP, published this week, revealed former PE owner Inverleith – which also presided over the administration of Planet Organic and Montezuma’s in recent months – lost at least £9.6m as a result of the online meat retailer’s failure earlier this year.

Inverleith’s initial investment in Farmison totalled £7.3m following its takeover of the business in February 2022, according to the documents. The investment was used to finance the ongoing business, repay £1.5m of bank debt and repay existing shareholders £2.3m.

When predicted rapid growth failed to materialise amid a wider DTC slowdown, Inverleith had to put in a further £1m in June 2022 and £500k in October. The PE owner also transferred another £750k in January 2023 to assist cashflow.

The report showed revenues declined in 2022 from £11.9m to £10.5m (way below forecasts for £27.1m), with losses extending from £2.6m to £3.4m as it was weighed down by massive costs and weakening demand.

Former Asda boss Andy Clarke, and his consortium, paid £350k to save the Farmison brand in the April pre-pack deal, the documents revealed.

Secured creditor Santander is set to miss out on the majority of the £1.9m owed for a CBILS overdraft and growth capital loan facility, while employees are expected to receive 31p in the pound for £86k owed for missing wages, unpaid pension contributions and holiday pay.

HMRC is also set to miss out on £131k and unsecured creditors of £7.3m will get nothing, although £6.3m of the unsecured total is owed to Inverleith as part of the debt put into the business.