UK’s leading discount food retailer plans massive expansion

Left to right: Dan Cluderay, Approved Foods, Keith Williams, UKSE, Andy Needham, Approved Foods, Ian Howson, Finance Yorkshire, Patrick Abel, PKF

Britain’s biggest on-line retailer of clearance food and drink is announcing great news for households managing tight budgets in the recession, as it plans to double its size and triple the number of employees to meet growing customer demand.

Approved Food Ltd is based at North Anston in South Yorkshire from where it supplies individual customers with discounted food products. Launched in 2008 the company has already experienced dramatic growth to the point where turnover is expected to hit £10,000,000 by the end of the 2013 financial year. All sales are made on-line through the website and the business is experiencing exceptional growth in these difficult times.

Its warehouse stocks over 1500 lines and distributes goods to over 90,000 individual customers from the Scottish Highlands to the depths of Cornwall.

Substantial investment in new technology and increased staffing levels has seen the company boost market share and an undisclosed finance package provided by UK Steel Enterprise Ltd and Finance Yorkshire will enable the company to invest further to underpin the company’s rapid growth.

Keith Williams, Regional Manager for UK Steel Enterprise says Approved is an exceptional company in more ways than one. “Dan and his co-Director Andy Needham have created a great business that has the potential to be a big player in a niche market. It has already created much needed new jobs and looks set to become a substantial employer in South Yorkshire and beyond. The can-do attitude of the management and other staff inspired us with confidence and the figures speak for themselves; we really believe that this company is going places and look forward to working with them over the coming years, says Keith Williams.

UK Steel Enterprise is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel. It provides business finance in amounts from £25,000 up to £750,000 to a wide variety of companies with the aim of encouraging business growth and job creation in areas affected by changes in the steel industry.

Founder Director of Approved, Dan Cluderay says the time is right for the company to expand to meet customer needs. “Times are tough for the British housewife struggling to make ends meet in the recession but we are here to help with our big shopping basket. 13,000 new customers joined us in the first quarter of this year, that’s an average of 250 new shoppers a week and there is no sign of demand shrinking – which is why we needed the funding to allow us to take on more people etc. We have already set on 20 new employees this year and expect to take on another 20 before next Christmas. By the same time in 2013 we expect to have tripled our workforce,” says Dan Cluderay.

The business funder worked with Finance Yorkshire to put together a package for Approved after the company was introduced to it by Patrick Abel at business advisors PKF.

Ian Howson, Investment Manager at Finance Yorkshire said: “When we met with Approved Food Ltd it was clear the company is making significant strides forward and has long-term ambitions for growth. The company’s investment in IT and the fact that it sells everything on-line meant that we could support the application for funding.

“It has already established a strong foothold in the market, created jobs for local people and identified the path it wishes to follow. Finance Yorkshire is pleased to support that exciting journey.”

Andy Needham says the success of the company is down to providing exceptional value and a level of service that customers demand from an on-line operation.

“We have a unique combination of technical skills and sourcing experience and have invested heavily in ensuring we have firm foundations in place to go to the next level. We are delighted that Finance Yorkshire and UK Steel Enterprise have recognised the work that has taken place so far and have come on board as partners to assist in the next stage of growth. The savings we can offer our customers are substantial and now we have the funding, we believe that everything is in place to allow us to really accelerate growth, customer share and save even more households money in these testing times,” says Andy Needham.

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Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire