Triple blow causes Fylde meats firm to close

Entrepreneur Simon Rigby who was presented with the MBE
Entrepreneur Simon Rigby who was presented with the MBE

A “near perfect storm in the catering meats sector” has caused a Fylde coast wholesale business to close.

Clifton Quality Meats, one of the many firms owned by entrepreneur Simon Rigby who also owns Preston Guild Hall and Bonds Ice Cream, has shut its doors.

Mr Rigby said the £10m turnover business, which supplied restaurants and pubs, was hit by a triple blow which meant the business had to be put into administration.

In a letter to staff, the company said it had been hit by the fall in the value of the pound thanks to Brexit which meant meat prices rose 15 per cent as exports became cheaper to foreign markets and imports more expensive.

It was also hit by the collapse of a rival meat supplier, Russell Hume, which went bust after a Food Standards Agency investigation.

Because the sector relies heavily on credit insurance and the insurance company was badly hit, it raised costs to other customers.

Finally, the dry summer was hitting food supplies. The letter said English Lamb weights were forecast to be down 40 per cent due to poor crop growth and fuel costs were higher.

Sarah O’Toole and Jason Bell of Grant Thornton UK were appointed as joint administrators to the company on Friday, August 24.

The firm which had offices in Cornford Road, Marton and in Wakefield, employed 70 people who were made redundant. Much of its work has been taken up by another firm, Clifton Buying Group.

He said: “I feel sad to see such a long established local business ceased to trade. But more important than my feelings are the loyal employees and customers.

“I am therefore pleased to see Clifton Buying Group employing many of the staff and serving the customers requirements. As far as I know everyone has been reemployed.”