Discount grocer Fultons Foods moves into private ownership

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L to r: Kevin Gunter, Karen Rees and Mike Selina from Yorkshire Bank Corporate & Structured Finance

L to r: Kevin Gunter, Karen Rees and Mike Selina from Yorkshire Bank Corporate & Structured Finance

Discount grocery chain Fultons Foods is moving back into private ownership following the purchase of 3i’s minority share in the company by the management team at parent firm Frozen Value.

And, it is planning to expand by opening at least eight new stores per annum.

The business, which has a turnover of £50m, will now be owned by managing director, Kevin Gunter and finance director, Karen Rees.

Fultons Foods was established over 50 years ago by Jack Fulton, who grew the company from a market trader to a retail chain. It was bought 14 years ago by a management buy-in led by Gunter and backed by 3i. The latest deal was backed by Yorkshire Bank.

“The funding from Yorkshire Bank means we are now 100% privately owned,” said Gunter. “The funding is allowing us to secure an exit for 3i and will enable us to grow the business at a faster rate with a minimum of eight new stores and 60 jobs being created each year.”

Foultons Foods said new stores will be added to the company’s Yorkshire heartland together with expansion into new areas. It currently reaches from Hull to Manchester and from Harrogate to Derbyshire.

According to the company, the Fultons Foods/Jack Fultons name is the most recognisable discount food brand within Yorkshire and is renowned for selling ‘branded products at the lowest prices’.

The stores offer a core range of products (with a strong frozen element) and spot purchase stock at heavily discounted prices.

In 2005 the company invested in a new head office and warehouse facility close to the M1, near Barnsley.