Two companies come to the rescue for Woodhead

26 April, 2011
Page 4 

Woodhead Bakery workers are celebrating after nearly all the firm's shops and factory were saved by two separate deals.

Coopland & Sons (Scarborough) bought 18 of the shops while Bakery Products, part of supermarket business Haldane Retail Group, snapped up the Scarborough bakery and 11 shops. Woodhead went into administration at the end of March, after being hit by inflation and rising wheat prices. Only the Redcar store was closed, with the loss of 30 jobs.

Midlands-based Bakery Products was set up specifically to manage the new business, appointing Woodhead's long-standing managing director Phil Davis as MD of the new firm. He will take full responsibility for management of the bakery while Colin Woodhead, although retired, will work as a consultant.

A spokesman for Bakery Products said: "We're delighted to retain both Phil and Colin. Their knowledge, valuable skills and experience of the industry are key to the future success of the bakery."

It aims to particularly focus on The Wedge, a pie developed by Woodhead and sold under the The Pie People brand. The plan is to open shops using the name.

Davis said: "I look forward to working with the new owners to rebuild confidence in the Woodhead name and products."

Cooplands said the purchase extended its coverage in some existing areas, gave it a presence in towns it did not currently trade in, such as Malton, and fitted well in its long-term plan for continued steady growth. MD Paul Coopland said: "We are thrilled that, in these difficult economic times, we are able to expand our number of stores."

Cooplands now has 111 shops and nine cafés, making it the UK's third-largest retail bakery manufacturing chain, behind Greggs and Sayers. It bought 10 Ainsleys stores around Leeds from administrators a year ago and, in 2007, bought Hull-based Skeltons out of administration.

Haldane Retail Group owns supermarkets trading under three fascias Haldanes Stores, Haldanes Express and UGO. The bakery will supply all 20 of the new UGO stores, scheduled to open over the next six weeks. and will eventually supply all 44 stores in the portfolio.





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