The year since our last visit has been a hectic one for Steve Parfett, MD of AG Parfett and Sons. In addition to running the cash and carry business, Parfett has been an active
and vocal leader for the industry on competition issues.
The family-run business, which was 12th on The Grocer's most recent Big 30 wholesaler list, has done well this year and Parfett declares himself "satisfied with the progress".
He expects to end the year to June 2006 with a turnover of close to £230m, which would represent 5% year-on-year growth.
The Go Local retail club that Parfett launched last year is doing well and the company is tweaking its signage and product assortment. Parfett says it is close to finalising deals for both fresh and ambient local foods. He has also initiated a partnership with local Brewery Joseph Holt, which he says has been extremely successful.
"Beer is particularly important for our business. We were the first cash-and-carry that they worked with and it went well," says Parfett. "They are now considering selling to other cash and carries and we are looking at opening up to more brewers."
The business has also successfully expanded into Fairtrade products.
Last year, Parfett highlighted catering as another potential growth area. The category remains stable this year at approximately 10% of company turnover, he says.
While Parfett refuses to say 'never' to entering delivered wholesale, it's definitely not top of his agenda. "There is a demand for it, but stimulated by a desire to get wholesale service at cash-and-carry prices," he says. "This is unrealistic."
Looking ahead, Parfett is optimistic about what lies in store for the business. He expects the growth to come through the company's existing facilities and has no plans at the moment to open more depots.