The Hull-based seafood firm said the potential closure – including its factory on Witty Street – was due to loss of business with a major account, coupled with vertical integration within the industry. The chilled division represented about 20% of Smales’ turnover.
However, the firm said the closure would not affect the business’ trading division, which has a turnover of more than £70m and was described as operating in a growing market.
“The directors wish to accelerate the company’s business opportunities in this area in the future,” said a Smales official statement. “The company is in a strong and secure financial position moving forward.
“As such, F Smales & Son (Fish Merchants) Ltd are re-evaluating business strategy to potentially switch focus solely to the trading division.”
Established in 1937, Smales employs about 200 people and supplies fish and seafood to supermarket fish counters across the UK. The company announced sales of £93m for 2018 and had recently launched a next-day delivery service for UK customers.
Meanwhile, fresh fruit and vegetable supplier Quinfresh, based in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, has closed its doors after almost 80 years, with the loss of 53 jobs.