Fresh and chilled supplier Kerryfresh has gone into administration, leaving independent retailers out of stock and out of pocket.
The bankruptcy means retailers who were supplied by Kerryfresh or Fresh To Store, and are awaiting credit from goods sold on sale or return are likely to be left out of pocket and any out of date stock will not be collected.
Raju Patel from Premier Eldred Stores in Orpington, Kent, told Retail Express: “We were warned by reps that they were teetering on the edge. We didn’t have deliveries on Saturday or Monday as planned either, but we’ve got plans in place because we thought it was coming. You have to be on your feet as a retailer at the moment.”
Retail Express has learned that WH Smith and Poundland ended their agreements with the wholesaler, and independent retailers have been unable to receive their normal deliveries. The gates at some Kerryfresh depots were closed across the weekend and a source told Retail Express that all staff had been made redundant.
Administrators Duff & Phelps (D&P) blamed the fall of Palmer & Harvey for Kerryfresh's decision to cease trading. Allan Graham from D&P said the insurance payout related to P&H had been delayed. Graham also said Kerryfresh's insurer refused to insure the company's supplies in to its largest customer in February 2018, forcing it to stop supplying the customer and damaging the viability of the business.
In response, Kerryfresh tried to find investment or a buyer for the business but were unable to do so. The administrators said their aim is to continue to try and find a buyer for the business in order to save the livlihoods of the business' 300 employees.
Kerryfresh sold goods such as meats, dairy, fruit & veg, snacks and sandwiches through its Fresh to Store website and van teams. The company is partnered with Central Stores, Nisa, Booker, Best-one, Costcutter, Bargain Booze, McColl's, BP, Landmark Wholesale, Parfetts, Today's and other petrol forecourt groups.