Frozen ice cream supplier Fwip has announced major redundancies in the UK, affecting roles providing sales and field support to independent retailers.
The firm, who supplies to symbol groups and independent stores, informed employees on 6 June. Thirteen employees are affected, with six of those responsible for the UK. In its communication, Fwip told affected employees that its main investor Hevella Capital had pulled funding and the redundancy procedure would leave it operating with “skeleton staff.”
Despite the redundancies, the firm said it would still continue to operate as it seeks new streams of funding.
The company provides its own branded machines and flavours into more than 2,000 convenience stores. The majority of these stores are independent retailers and symbol groups, with the remainder being supermarkets.
One source, who asked to remain anonymous, told Better Retailing: “I’m concerned about how this might affect the service to independent retailers, as there are a lot who do business with Fwip.”
Retailers can either buy the machine outright, or pay weekly on a leasing model through a third-party. Products are also distributed to stores through wholesalers such as Consort Frozen Foods, Eden Farm Hulleys, Hunts Frozen Foods, Fife Creamery and BWG.
Fwip chief executive Paul Kali confirmed the redundancies and that Hevella Capital had ceased its investment in the firm. However, he said this would not impact the level of support that retailers receive.
Kali added: “We’ve had to reorganise and restructure accordingly. We launched an online service where customers can look at and explore all pricing. At the same time we believe in telesales. Seventy per cent of our sales have been made through the phone this year, whereas 30% has come from field sales.
“Post-Brexit, we’ve had to move operationally to Poland. The roles impacted are field sales, some of our operations in the UK due to moving to Poland, and marketing. Our business needs to become more centralised and we don’t have the time and energy to handle field sales reps scattered across the country.
“The decision shouldn’t affect our distribution as we have many distributors. We continue to have the full customer service team for support. The installation and maintenance of our machines are outsourced to a third-party who we provide with training.”