Frozen value retailer Farmfoods plans to capitalise on the growth of the discount sector by embarking on expansion in the south of England.
A new 175,000 sq ft frozen food DC, which opened last week in Avonmouth, Bristol, will facilitate the rollout.
Eric Herd, Farmfoods’ media-shy MD, confirmed the new Bristol depot would support further expansion in the South of England but refused to elaborate.
Herd has turned the Scottish meat business he inherited from his father into the UK’s second-biggest frozen food retailer, with 320 shops, about 30% of which are north of the border.
The company is seeking stores of 6,000 sq ft-10,000 sq ft with adjacent parking.
It has two outlets in London - Walthamstow and Ponders End. Others on the outskirts of the capital include Mitcham, Sutton and Ilford.
It has identified nearly 50 areas of London in which it would like to open including Acton, Wembley, Wood Green and Edgware.
The new Bristol depot incorporates frozen and ambient storage facilities as well as office space.
ISD Solutions, the contractor, said it incorporated a range of high-performance and sustainable materials to make the depot energy efficient and reduce the carbon footprint.
The depot would equip Farmfoods with one of the greenest, thermally efficient retail distribution centres of its type in the UK, ISD said.
William Scanlon, property development manager at Farmfoods, said: “Maintaining our frozen food in perfect condition is crucial to us. So, too, is our ability to do so in the most energy-efficient way possible and our new facility in Bristol will enable us to continue to achieve these aims.”
Kantar Worldpanel’s latest monthly till roll data gives Farmfoods a 0.7% share for the 12-week period to 9 November. Its 2013-2014 peak was achieved in the 12-week periods between March and June, when it accounted for 0.8% of the market.
Pre-tax profit plunged 42.4% last year to £15.8m despite sales climbing 21% to £689.1m.