Warburtons to double in size to £1bn

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Ross Warburton outlined plans for growth
Ross Warburton outlined plans for growth
Warburtons plans to double the size of its bakery business to £1bn over the next 10 years. The firm will extend its range, build on its brand values and expand further across the globe, its executive director Ross Warburton has reported.

Over the past 10 years, Warburtons had doubled its turnover to £500M, said Warburton as he presented the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology's 2011 annual lecture in London last month.

Warburtons now operates 13 bakeries, with an equivalent number of depots, and employs 4,500 people, producing 2M products a day. It has also expanded from core areas of bread and morning goods into gluten-free bread, crisps and savoury snacks, by being "nimble and innovative"​.

Growth potential

While it is currently exporting products to European countries including France, Spain and Italy, as well as former eastern bloc nations North and South America and Australia, it sees further growth potential in the regions, said Warburton. While this is initially based on an "export model"​, it will eventually include overseas manufacturing facilities as well.

"We are ambitious, but we are quite prudent," ​said Warburton. "So, would I dream of having a bakery located in the [former] eastern bloc supplying Poland and the Czech Republic, in 10 years? Yes, that would be a great thing to have but at the right time."

Warburton also remarked: "Our ambition is to become, over time, one of the world's best family- owned businesses. But the current environment is probably not the very best starting point. These are tough times and scale is no protector for tough times."

While the company has spent £150M on building its capacity, adding new bakeries and new technologies, over the past five years, it plans to spend another £200M over the next five years. "That should make us one of the best-invested in businesses in our category,"​ he said.

Tough times

He predicted that "tough times are here to stay"​ . To build on past success, it was necessary for companies such as his to learn how to deal with that, without jettisoning the values that customers want from premium, high-quality products to sustainable production methods, ethical and local sourcing, and healthy eating.

"Despite all of these economic pressures, the consumer shows clear shopping trends that give an insight to the role that values have in their shopping habits,"​ he said. "Our brand values have become more important than ever in a tough market, because of the basis on which we differentiate our brand from the competition they are: family, ambition, responsibility, quality and care."

Related topics: Bakery

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