Brakes is closing its cash & carry in Croydon, after 10 months.
The 25,000 sq ft ”Brakes Professional Food Market”, opened in March last year and was the foodservice giant’s first foray into cash & carry.
Though Brakes said in July last year it had identified a number of sites to expand the format, CEO Ken McMeikan told The Grocer a consultation on the depot’s closure had started today.
“Since opening the Brakes Professional Food Market trial store in March 2014, the core Brakes business has grown ahead of expectations,” Brakes said in a statement.
“We have also delivered a number of initiatives, including the roll-out of e-commerce to our independent customers, with 24% now registered to shop on-line and the launch of a multi-temperature service to our customers. In addition, we have also announced a joint venture with Fresh Direct to accelerate sales growth in the fresh category, which is the fastest growing part of the foodservice market.
“In view of these initiatives and the attractive opportunities they present, we have decided not to open any further Brakes Professional Food Market stores.”
Confirming the closure, it added: “As a result of this decision, we have, today, begun a consultation process with our colleagues to close the Croydon trial store. We are very grateful for the support of our customers in Croydon and will continue to offer them the highest level of customer service throughout the consultation period.
“We will undergo a thorough consultation with our Professional Food Market colleagues and will offer them our full support.”
McMeikan told The Grocer: “In terms of budget, BPFM was on plan. But it needs capital investment and time, and we’ve got to focus the leadership team on the things we can do at pace.”
Since opening the Croydon outlet, Brakes had introduced e-commerce to independents, launched multi-temperature delivery in Warrington, Hemsworth and Newhouse, and announced a joint venture with Fresh Direct, he added.
“If we looked at the Brakes Professional Food Market, the feedback has been outstanding,” McMeikan said. “We’ve transformed the perceptions of what the cash & carry can achieve in the fresh food space, but it’s unfortunate for them, it’s not been for any lack of effort, the compliments about the team and Martin has been exceptional. The challenge for our team, finding employment, is really important.”