Cooplands of Doncaster continued with its ambitious expansion plan this month after acquiring two shops from Sparks Confectioners in Bradford.The company, which has plans to double the size of its business over the next five years, bought 10 Ainsleys shops out of administration earlier this year. The two Sparks shops are leased from Morrisons supermarkets and have a combined turnover of £0.7m, employing 20 staff. The shops, to be rebranded as Cooplands within the month, take the firm’s retail estate to 89 stores, with over 800 staff. Annual sales stand at around £22m.Executive chairman Chris Peck commented: “The stores are in high footfall locations and the heritage and family culture of Sparks fit seamlessly with our own business, which has been in retail baking for almost 80 years. We are proud to be a Yorkshire-based business, offering fresh, artisan and high-quality handmade products representing great value. We see this as a crucial differentiation from our national retail bakery competitors, who we believe are primarily price-focused and sell mass-produced products.”Cooplands has also launched a shop refurbishment programme across its estate with two shops revamped and a further five or six to carry the new look by end of the year. Sales have increased by around 20% at the shops that have been updated.”The market remains challenging and the pricing strategy of the market leaders remains very unclear and defensive,” said Peck. “With commodity cost inflation in flour and wheat-influenced proteins impacting the retail bakery sector, we might have expected market leaders to be driving prices up, with the rest of the market following, helping themselves to an operating margin uplift at the same time.”>>Country Style buys Ainsleys’ central bakery
Both the UK and Saudi Arabia are already providing support to progress economic development across the East and Horn of Africa. Today’s partnership will see a joint commitment of £100 million between the two countries to further these efforts – the UK’s contribution will include allocations from existing country budgets. Today both countries signed the Joint Cooperation Memorandum recognising the collaboration between DFID and KS Relief to strengthen both countries’ humanitarian efforts.During meetings with the Saudi delegation, the UK noted that it was encouraged by the easing of restrictions into Yemen to ensure vital food and other supplies get through Hodeidah and Saleef ports to those in need.While the UK recognises Saudi Arabia’s legitimate security concerns and will continue to provide support to prevent illegal arms smuggling into Yemen, there is no excuse to prevent humanitarian and commercial supplies from reaching those in need.This builds on the International Development Secretary’s visit to Saudi Arabia in December, where she called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to restore and maintain full access for humanitarian and commercial imports and find a peaceful solution to stop Yemen falling into famine.Notes to Editors The UK and Saudi Arabia are building a new long-term partnership to improve livelihoods, boost economic development and create vital infrastructure to support some of the world’s poorest people in drought and conflict-stricken countries. This includes a commitment to work together in East Africa, which will in turn strengthen global prosperity.The partnership – announced during the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia’s visit to the UK – is the first of its kind between the Department for International Development and the Saudi Fund for Development. It will see British development experts working closer with Saudi counterparts, including in the Horn and East of Africa where both countries are already helping to lift people out of poverty.International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: Global Britain is rightly recognised as an international leader when it comes to helping the most vulnerable, saving lives and tackling global challenges. The Saudi Fund has a long record of investing in successful development projects around the world. We are sharing the best of British expertise, and our collective efforts will help create jobs and livelihoods to support the poorest people to stand on their own two feet. This in turn will help to boost global prosperity which is in all our interests. By building critical infrastructure for some of the world’s poorest whose lives are threatened by drought, disease and conflict, together we can make a bigger difference and ensure that everyday tasks like collecting drinking water are made much easier.
Renowned chef Matt Moran has completed the T-QUAL tour that saw him travel around Australia as an ambassador for the T-QUAL Tick Accreditation, endorsing business involved with the initiative. Mr Moran spoke to e-Travel Blackboard yesterday about his experiences while travelling Australia, promoting an array of high quality tourism products including restaurants, tours, attractions and accommodation. “It was an amazing experience and great to spend time seeing our country and those people who are passionate to show it to the world,” Mr Moran said. “The T-QUAL Tick Tour has been an incredible journey, proving Australia is home to plenty of quality tourism experiences.” Mr Moran’s journey began in New South Wales where he ate worms at Taronga Zoo that “tasted ok”, before taking him south to Tasmania where he ranked flying on sea planes. Moving around to Western Australia, Matt said he enjoyed his time mud crabbing in Broome, before later being blown away by the beauty of the Northern Territory and the opportunity to swim with giant crocodiles. Hinting that he hoped there was a sequel to the T-QUAL Tick Tour, Mr Moran made sure everyone knew about the tour by constantly updating his blog – http://t-qual.tumblr.com/ – and speaking with media along the way. “There is something for every budget in every state and territory, and now they are even easier to find – all you have to do is look for the T-QUAL Tick,” Mr Moran pointed out. Designed to attract awareness to the T-QUAL Tick and its benefits, Mr Moran said he experienced this throughout his travels, with a spike in interest in particular after his visit to Tasmania. A total of 66 businesses across Australia were involved in the T-QUAL Tick Tour. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W