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BGF invests £7.7m in Cooplands expansion

BGF News 07.12.2020.
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BGF has made a further substantial investment in the expansion of Yorkshire-headquartered bakery business, Cooplands, as the 135-year-old business looks ahead to its next chapter of growth.

Three years after BGF’s initial £8.5m investment, the business has grown to more than 165 stores, 12 cafes and 36 sandwich vans. Cooplands has opened seven new stores since March 2020 and plans to roll-out an additional 30 stores a year in locations such as South Yorkshire, as well as expanding further in the current geographical footprint.

BGF has supported Cooplands in building a strong leadership team to spearhead future growth. This news follows the appointment of Belinda Youngs as CEO in 2019. Belinda joined with more than two decades’ experience in the grocery retail sector in the UK and Canada with roles at Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

Commenting on the deal, Belinda Youngs said: “We’re ambitious about continuing to grow our business and this investment allows us to build on the strong progress we’ve already made. This year we’ve continued to open stores, create jobs and develop new products. Just this month, we’ve opened a new shop in Lincoln which created eight new jobs for the city and launched a new cheese bake to meet consumer demand.”

In 2019, Cooplands was one of the first high street bakery chains to sell 100 per cent vegan bread and rolls, made with none of the animal fats, dairy, eggs or honey that can often be found in shop-bought breads.

Belinda adds: “Like most businesses, we’ve established new ways of working this year and we’ve also found areas for innovation, including the launch of our on line ordering platform and Cooplands recipes and products which allow customers to recreate our most popular bakes at home.”

Earlier this year, Julie Turnbull was hired as CFO for the business, following FD roles at Omega Plc and Finsbury Food Group. David Salkeld was introduced as non-executive chair in 2018 and brings a strong track record from high-profile roles across the food industry.

The Coopland family will remain important minority shareholders of the business, with Paul Coopland continuing to support the business in a non-executive capacity.

Cooplands is one of a group of companies which has been collectively dubbed as the UK’s growth economy. This comprises more than 21,000 businesses based across every region in the UK with a turnover between £2.5m and £100m and year-on-year sales growth outpacing GDP.

Barry Jackson, BGF investor added: “BGF is committed to backing the growth economy businesses that will help to drive economic recovery in every corner of the UK. Under Belinda’s leadership, Cooplands is a perfect example of a Yorkshire company which continues to strive for industry-leading innovation and quality which in turn, drives expansion and job creation across the region.”

Paul Coopland concludes: “Even for a 135-year-old business, trading through this year has been unlike any other. The company’s resilience is testament to the quality of our products, the strength of our capable management team and the 1,650 brilliant people they lead to serve our customers in their own communities. As we move into 2021, I look forward to the company realising the next stage of its growth ambitions.”