The All Party Small Shops Group said it is yet to finalise its report into the future of the high street in 2012 in the face of mounting speculation as to its contents.A spokesman for the group said the report will not be out until mid-February and dismissed press reports the group will call for an Office of Fair Trading investigation into the supermarket sector as “speculation”.According to leaks published in The Observer on January 29, the report is expected to make four key recommendations, including an end to supermarkets offering free car parking, while shoppers have to pay to park on the high street.It is also expected to suggest the wiping-out of advantageous business rates for supermarkets, putting in place measures to allow local authorities to find resources to fight planning applications by supermarkets and stiff sanctions if supermarkets exceed the floor space they are given planning permission for.
Bakery chain Greggs says it is taking action to drive sales growth, including a TV advertising campaign, new promotional initiatives and the launch of new healthy products, following a drop in year-on-year profits.At its AGM last week, Greggs announced that profits this year so far are materially below last year’s, due to factors including high energy costs. MD Sir Michael Darrington told British Baker that Greggs has several initiatives in hand to improve sales. It has started a national TV advertising campaign, in all regions apart from the south-east with a major four-week burst. This campaign will remind people about the basics of the Greggs business he said.Greggs is also offering new promotional activities in stores around the country, although details are being kept under wraps, he said. It will also be putting more emphasis on healthy options, Sir Michael revealed. Some new products will launch across the whole of the UK in the next two months.Greggs, which currently has 1,331 stores, is also taking action to reduce its discretionary spend in areas such as research and upgrading infrastructure, Sir Michael said. The Greggs business was driven by expansion and growing sales, he said, rather than reducing costs. There are areas where costs can be reduced, Sir Michael explained. Speaking at the AGM, Greggs chairman Derek Netherton said like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to 6 May 2006 were flat, continuing a trend already reported. That compares with a period of very strong growth in 2005, when like-for-like sales in the first 19 weeks increased by 5.8%. “Costs have increased as we expected, with the rise in energy costs making a particularly strong impact on the first half. As a result, profits to date remain materially below the level of last year,” added Netherton. But Greggs expects to see benefits from reduced costs and a number of initiatives to drive turnover growth, he said. Greggs’ interim results will be announced on 4 August 2006.
When it comes to healthy eating most of us know we should be eating more fruit and vegetables and cutting down on fat, salt and sugar. What seems less well known is that we should also be including at least three servings of wholegrain foods every day.Evidence suggests that eating wholegrain foods such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals, porridge oats and brown rice and pasta can help reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.In the UK, we have a Joint Health Claim Initiative claim for wholegrain foods and heart health that was approved in 2002. The health claim says that: “People with a healthy heart tend to eat more wholegrain foods as part of a healthy lifestyle.”The health claim relates to foods containing 51% or more wholegrain ingredients by weight per serving. The term ’wholegrain’ refers to the major cereal grains including wheat, rice, maize and oats. Experts suggest you should aim for a minimum of three servings of 16g per day.Data from the National Dietary and Nutritional Survey shows that consumption of wholegrain foods in Britain is extremely low. The survey revealed that one third of adults failed to consume any wholegrain foods on a daily basis and less than 5% consumed three or more servings per day.In November, HGCA will be launching a new recipe booklet to promote wholegrains in the diet. See [http://www.wholegraingoodness.com] for more information.
Bakery suppliers including RHM Bread Bakeries, Bagel Nash, Mr Bagels, Walkers Shortbread, Fuerst Day Lawson and GR Wright & Sons will be exhibiting at international trade fair, Anuga, held in Cologne from 13-17 October.The show is to incorporate Anuga Organic for the first time, a show for organic goods.The amount of money spent by German households on orga-nic products climbed by 17% in 2006, according to Anuga’s organisers.A number of companies and organisations have already decided to take part, including top suppliers such as Bionade, Bio-Zentrale, Lauretana and Transfair and there will be national presentations by companies from Brazil (Bäumle), Italy (ICE), Morocco (CMPE), the USA and other countries. Also attending will be organic associations such as Bioland, Naturland and the Consorzio Per Il Controllo di Prodotti Biologici (CCPB), one of the largest organic associations in Italy.With almost 160,000 trade visitors from 156 countries, Anuga is an important international trading platform. The proportion of trade visitors from abroad was 52% when the show last took place in 2005.Anuga Organic will give the manufacturers and importers of organic products the opportunity to mingle and discuss organic issues, such as certification, availability and pricing.The Innovation Prize for Organic Food Processing will once again be awarded in 2007 by the Schweisfurth Foundation in cooperation with Anuga.
Legislation covering wrapped bread weights is set to be scrapped in the UK next year, after an about-turn by the European Parliament.An amended version of the EU Nominal Quantities directive, voted on last month and just published, will deregulate weights and sizes for all pre-packed products, except for wines and spirits.The EU had been set to allow an exception for bread, but before a second vote in Parliment, the text of the regulation was suddenly changed to exclude bread. The directive will alter rules governing packaged breads in the UK; currently the law here states that bread over 300g must weigh 400g or a multiple of 400g, such as 1,200g.Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson said there was now “no going back”. European authorities would probably complete remaining legal formalities by summer or autumn. The UK government would then be likely to repeal weight regulations some time next year, he speculated. The Department of Trade and Industry may decide to set out new proposals, covering deregulation on both pre-packed and unwrapped breads, he suggested.National Association of British and Irish Millers director general Alex Waugh commented: “It’s very disappointing that the view of the European Parliament’s expert committee was not voted on in the end. It will be difficult for the sector to adapt.”Scottish Association of Master Bakers chief executive Kirk Hunter said: “Craft members will have mixed views and a number will be concerned about confusion in the marketplace. We may see moves on unit pricing.”National Association of Master Bakers’ parliamentary officer, Chris Dabner said the association was waiting to see what the DTI would do: “Although bread is sold by weight, customers buy on whether it looks large or small. If weights are deregulated custo-mers could be misled if a loaf looks large.”
Memory Lane Cakes in Cardiff failed to get a council noise abatement order lifted last week when a High Court judge refused a judicial review.The firm, which has operated at Maes y Coed Road since the 1940s, was handed the order after residents on a local housing estate complained they were being kept awake at night by extraction fans.The company said that complying with the order could cost £50,000 and was unfair as the housing estate was located on land traditionally used for industrial purposes.
Greggs is to extend its concept store format, which gives shoppers more space to shop, to further outlets in London ahead of a national roll-out.The bakery chain has seen double-digit sales growth at the eight stores in London it has refurbished with the new look and plans to revamp a further 19 shops in the capital in the second half, before rolling out the concept to the rest of the country.The new-concept stores sport a red and brown colour scheme, with more space for customers to browse fixtures, contem-porary spot lighting and large photos of the baking process. Some of the shops also have small seating areas. Extra space is provided in the stores by moving the production area to other parts of the building.”Where we have the space and can give that space back to customers it provides an easier shopping experience. The challenge is that no two shops at Greggs are the same, so we have to do a site-by-site analysis. We’ll see more of them going forward, not just in London but across the country,” chief executive Ken McMeikan told British Baker.Greggs revealed the new-concept store roll-out as it announced its half-year results. Total group sales in the 26 weeks to 3 July increased by 2.9% compared to same period in 2009, with like-for-like sales up 0.7%. Underlying operating profit grew by 4%.The retailer said it was on track to open 50-60 net new shops in 2010, as part of its plan to open a further 600 outlets.
Frank Roberts and Sons has acquired the central bakery of Chester craft chain P & A Davies after the 111-year-old business went into administration and its shops were closed down.The firm, first set up in 1889 and had six shops in and around the city, was placed into administration because its shops were making a loss, in addition to cash flow difficulties following a move to a new bakery in Hawarden, Flintshire, last year, said administrator Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery. The shops were closed on 1 October and retail staff were made redundant, while the manufacturing business was immediately sold to Roberts.Nantwich-based firm Chatwins has confirmed it is in talks with the administrator to purchase an unspecified number of the P & A Davies shops, although nothing had been confirmed as British Baker went to press.Roberts is currently undertaking a strategic review of all areas of the business to determine an integration plan. Mike Braddock, Roberts MD, said: “P & A Davies is a well-respected business and the two companies share many values and a long heritage in quality baking. We look forward to working with them to establish a more profitable and viable business model going forward. P & A Davies manufactures a wide range of high-quality products and has a team of staff with unique and specialist skills in areas that will enhance the Roberts’ business. We are interested in the opportunities that this presents in widening our current offering.”P & A Davies produced over 200 lines and had 11 vans delivering to over 100 outlets, including its own shops, independent retail outlets, hotels, restaurants and caterers. The company moved to a newly refurbished and extended site last year.Roberts is based in Northwich, Cheshire, and currently produces around two million loaves and rolls each week. In June, the company bought Derbyshire-based Aldreds the Bakers out of administration, which manufactures rolls, bakery and confectionery products and had a turnover of £3m. It also announced an £8.5m modernisation project at its Northwich site in March this year.>>Roberts see expansion with Aldreds acquisition
In his opening statement at a court case in Dublin, the chairman of Irish bakery company McCambridge accused rival manufacturer Brennans of deliberately copying the packaging of one of McCambridge’s leading breads.Michael McCambridge told the Commercial Court in Dublin that he believed the packaging of Brennans’ Wholewheat Stone-Ground Sliced Bread, which was launched in January, would confuse consumers because it is similar to McCambridge’s long-established Irish Stone-Ground Wholewheat Bread, which has been in its present form since 2008, according to The Belfast Telegraph. The court case has been brought by McCambridge, which alleges Brennans of infringing its copyright by ‘passing off’. Brennans denies the claim. The case continues.>>Irish bakeries to come head-to-head in court
Sometimes an employee may fail to carry out additional tasks they have been given. This may take the form of an outright verbal refusal or behaviour that quickly stacks up to be task avoidance. So if you are ever faced with this type of situation, how should you deal with it? Will it come under your capability procedure, or is it a misconduct issue?Your initial reaction might be to dive straight into disciplinary proceedings, particularly if the situation is creating friction among colleagues. While such action may eventually become necessary, you first need to identify the root cause of the problem. For example, it could be that the employee doesn’t understand what is expected of them and is too embarrassed to admit it. So, initially at least, raise it with them on an informal basis, but in a private setting.In some ways it will be easier all round if the employee is hiding the fact that they don’t understand something for example, how to use new technology. If that is the case, arrange for some further training, but do not leave it there explain exactly what is expected of them and set a clear deadline for a satisfactory improvement.If there is no change, you could go down the capability route. Alternatively, the tasks could be excluded from their job role altogether but do bear in mind this decision could be relied on by other employees in the future.Conversely, when talking to the employee, you may discover that they are deliberately being obstructive. This could be in the hope that the tasks will be taken off them and things will go back to how they were. In this situation, warn them that you will start disciplinary proceedings if there is no immediate improvement in their attitude.If the misconduct persists, deal with it promptly doing otherwise sends a message that employees can shirk their responsibilities, undermining your entire disciplinary procedure.Contract protectionYou can make it harder for staff to unreasonably refuse to assume new skills and duties as part of their role via your employment contracts. Do this by inserting a flexible job duties clause. It can require staff to take on new duties, which are not in their original job description according to business needs. However, it cannot require them to carry out roles that are beyond their capability or would demean their skills.When providing training, ask employees to confirm in writing that they have not only attended, but fully understood, its contents. This should avoid any claims to the contrary.