This week, he told The Grocer that the business was now poised for a major growth spurt. It was on track to post sales of £27m for the year to August 2010 and had forecast sales of between £32m and £33m for next year and £40m to £50m within three years. Weekly sales were currently up 15% on last year, he said, ahead of expectations.
Although EBITDA had fallen from £3.3m in 2007 to £1.8m in 2009 and remained flat, it was expected to hit £3m for the year to August 2011, he added.
"In a sector that's absolutely falling through the floor, we're in absolute boom times again," he said. "We wanted to make sure Abel & Cole had the best fruit and veg box in the whole country. I'm really confident they now are."
Following February's restructure, Abel and finance director Ted Bell shelved plans to grow the company's product range from 1,300 items to 4,000 in a bid to restore focus. Instead the range was cut to fewer than 900.
They have also reduced the supply base by cutting out some of the middlemen to get closer to suppliers. "That's about our ethics, our sense of honour and a more simple approach," Abel said.
In May, the company also improved the quality of its fruit and veg, dropping margin aspirations in the hope of growing sales.
Now it had a low cost base and new marketing approach, the ingredients were in place for solid growth, said Bell. "While we've put together a modest forecast, I'm pleased to say, we're slightly ahead of budget and we've turned a corner," he said.
In February, Abel & Cole engineered a debt for equity swap that saw Lloyds TSB take a majority stake in the business. In total, £31m of debt was written off by Lloyds and other investors.
The move came after the company had defaulted on its banking covenants a year before.