Confectionery cash and carry specialist Hancocks is seeking suitable sites for new depots and hopes to open one in the autumn.
The company, which sells the UK’s largest range of confectionery at more than 5,000 lines, wants fuller coverage in the south east, particularly around the M25, as well as more depots in the north.
Hancocks CEO Andrew Hancock said customer numbers were rising steadily.
“We will be identifying a further three sites in the south east, targeting Kent, Essex and Berkshire, as well as looking at a number of other areas in the UK,” he said.
A spokeswoman said the company would love to open a depot in the autumn if it could find the right site, but added that finding such sites was not easy.
The cash and carry requires locations with a minimum of 15,000 sq ft close to major routes and to key competitors, such as Booker and Dhamecha.
“Independent retailers do their grocery shop in their main depot and then come to Hancocks to get their confectionery and soft drinks,” claimed Adrian Threlfall, manager of the company’s Watford depot.
Watford, which opened in March, was the first in the new wave of expansion for the 43-year-old family business.
Hancocks, which has a £70m turnover, has achieved an average sales growth of 7.5% over the past three years. Confectionery accounts for about 90% of sales and soft drinks for 10%.
The company was shortlisted for best wholesaler in this year’s The Grocer Gold Awards.
Threlfall said the key to the company’s success was its vast range, including a large range of weighouts (pick and mix) offering independents a margin of up to 70%.
He also cited its strong promotional offer, which includes 13 offer periods of two weeks each, comprising simple deals such as buy-one-get-one-free and extra-free offers.
The company also runs two-day specials four times a year with deep price cuts.
>> p34 In profile: Adrian Threlfall
Masterfoods Australia, has destroyed three million Mars and Snickers bars in New South Wales after receiving letters from a person claiming to have contaminated seven bars in Sydney. The recall has cost about $1.3m in lost sales.

French supermarket giant Carrefour has reported below-forecast growth in group sales of 3.1% to l20.35bn in the second quarter, when it said low prices in the European market and weak buying volumes at the end of last year were more apparent. Analysts had predicted group sales of l20.61bn.

PepsiCo has reported a 15% increase in second-quarter earnings per share to $0.70. This had been fuelled by double-digit growth at PepsiCo International and Quaker Foods International. Solid performances of US beverage and snack units had also helped.

Tesco will open 15 stores in China over the next year in its joint venture with Chinese food processor and retailer Ting Hsin International Group. Tesco and Ting Hsin currently run 32 stores under the venture, which operates under the Hymart-Hymall brand.
Supermarket sales in the Netherlands fell 0.7% to €12.4bn in the first half of 2005 and will fail to grow this year, market research group GfK has revealed. It said sales in June fell 1.3% year-on-year.

Sara Lee, the US consumer goods company, said it will cut 775 jobs in the US, Mexico and Canada as part of its plans to focus on its food, beverage and household-product businesses. At least 400 jobs will be lost at the headquarters of its branded-apparel division in North Carolina.

Cosmetics group L’Oréal reported 5.4% growth in sales to 17bn for the second quarter. Like-for-like sales growth increased from 3.1% in the first quarter to 5.1% in the second.
Siân Harrington
n Poison threat
n 3% growth
n Pepsico up
n New Tescos
n Sales down
n US job cuts
n L’Oréal grows