Casella Family Brands grew operating profits 21% last year

Tesco wine buying manager Dawn Webster-Smith is leaving the retailer to join Yellow Tail owner Casella Family Brands, The Grocer has learned.

Webster-Smith, a five-year Tesco veteran, will take up her new role as an account controller on Casella’s sales team from 28 May. She will be overseeing Casella’s business with Sainsbury’s, Asda and Waitrose in the new role. 

Confirming the move, Casella sales director Jon Luke told The Grocer: “Dawn has a great breadth of experience and a real passion for the wine industry. 

“She shares the long-term, value-adding vision that our business has for the wine sector in the UK and we are delighted to welcome her into the Casella family.”

She joined Tesco in 2013 as an assistant operations manager, working her way up into the BWS buying team. 

Most recently, she was responsible for buying and trading wines from Australia and South Africa. 

Prior to joining Tesco she was a manager at Majestic Wine. 

The news comes on the back of a stellar year for Casella: its UK volumes surged 19.1% for the year ending 30 June 2018, with revenues up 17.7%, documents filed with Companies House reveal. Operating profits were up 21% to £3.4m.

The Yellow Tail brand was one of the biggest winners in The Grocer’s most recent Top Products report, having grown its value sales by almost a third (32.4%) to £132.7m - a whopping £32m increase - over the 52 weeks to 8 September 2018 [Nielsen].