(L-R) Jane Marren, Group Managing Director, Company Shop; Mark Butterwoth, Relationship Director, Lloyds Bank; John Marren, Founder and Chairman Company Shop
The UK’s largest redistributor of surplus food and household products has launched a new store as part of a major expansion drive that’s expected to create over 200 jobs.
Company Shop, headquartered in Barnsley, opened its first North East outlet earlier this month in Washington, Sunderland, with the support of a seven-figure funding package from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
The move is part of the firm’s plans to double the number of sites it has across the UK. It’s set to open five new superstores over the next two years, with potential next locations including Hull, the East Midlands and the West Midlands.
The business buys and sells surplus stock from retailers and manufacturers, which would have otherwise gone to waste, passing on significant discounts to its members.
Company Shop’s entire business model is built around sustainability and minimising food waste. This year, the retailer will save over 70 million units of surplus products from going to landfill, and more products will be saved as each new store opens.
Lloyds Bank provided a £4.2 million funding package drawn from its Clean Growth Financing Initiative to support the firm’s plans to expand its network of stores. The £2 billion scheme was launched in May this year and offers discounted finance to clients investing in a more sustainable future.
The business currently operates five other stores in Corby, Grimsby, Wentworth, Middleton and St Helens. Its superstores operate on a membership basis, with eligible customers including those working in the food manufacturing industry, the emergency services and the NHS.
In 2013 the firm also launched a social enterprise called Community Shop, which sells deeply discounted surplus products to those that need them most but can afford them least. Revenues raised in each of its four stores are used to deliver professional, personal development programmes to kick-start positive change in the lives of their members.
John Marren, founder and chairman of Company Shop, said: “Over the next three years, we anticipate our increasing network of stores will help us to save over 100 million units of perfectly good products from going to waste each year. This will support retailers and manufacturers to reach their sustainability targets while ensuring products are made available for people to use as originally intended.
“It’s excellent that our sustainability credentials have been recognised by Lloyds Bank, allowing us to benefit from its Clean Growth Finance initiative. Lloyds Bank will play a key role in helping us to expand and increase our positive commercial, social and environmental impact.
“It helped us to launch our St Helen’s store earlier this year, followed by our latest store opening in Washington, which marks the next step of an exciting chapter in Company Shop’s 40-year history.”
Mark Butterworth, relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Company Shop is an outstanding firm with a very positive mission.
“Waste & Resources Action Programme estimates that there are 205,000 tonnes of edible surplus in the supply chain that could be redistributed, and businesses like Company Shop are doing excellent work to bring this figure down and to help the sector become more sustainable.
“It’s a great example of a firm that we want to support with our Clean Growth Finance, which was launched to help companies that help Britain prosper by reducing the UK’s overall impact on the environment.”
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