Fine Fare

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Fine Fare
Private company, Subsidiary
Industry Retail
Fate Acquired
Successor The Dee Corporation
Founded 1956
Defunct 1986
Headquarters Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom
Key people
James Gulliver, (Chairman 1967 - 1972)
Parent Associated British Foods 1963 - 1986
Subsidiaries Melias, Shoppers Paradise

Fine Fare was the name of a chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom. It was famous for its Yellow Pack budget own-label range.


The company started as a single supermarket in Brighton in 1956.[1] It was one of a series of convenience store chains established in the 1950s, the others being Premier and Victor Value.[2] By 1962 it had 200 shops.[3]

The company was acquired by Associated British Foods in 1963.[4] ABF appointed James Gulliver to the post of chairman of Fine Fare in 1967; he continued to lead the business until 1972.[5]

In 1986, ABF sold the company to The Dee Corporation (subsequently known as Somerfield).[6] Following this, all Dee Corporation's newly acquired stores were rebranded as Gateway or closed, and the Fine Fare name had disappeared by the end of the 1980s.

Fine Fare was perhaps most notable for its sponsorship of the Scottish Football League which commenced for the 1985-86 season (beginning August 1985)[7] to the 1987-88 season (which ended in May 1988, around the same time that the last Fine Fare stores closed).[8]

Fine Fare was immortalised in the song "Aisle of Plenty" from the album Selling England by the Pound by the progressive rock band, Genesis.[9]


A Fine Fare store in Thirsk, 1968

Fine Fare's depots were at Welwyn Garden City (Hertfordshire), East Kilbride (Lanarkshire), Washington (Tyne & Wear), Cheadle Hulme (Stockport), Hucknall (Nottingham), Tuffley (Gloucester) and Aylesford (Kent). Shoppers Paradise only depots were at East Kilbride (Lanarkshire), Weedon (Northampton), Stevenage (Hertfordshire) and Alton (Hampshire). Washington also held stocks of non-food items for national distribution. The company conducted a short series of advertisements featuring actor Gordon Jackson (best known as Mr Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs).

Fine Fare also owned the Melias[10] and Shoppers Paradise[11] chains of convenience stores.


  1. ^ "Welwyn Garden City: The Official Handbook and Directory 1959". 1959-03-31. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  2. ^ Hamlett, Jane; Regulating UK supermarkets: an oral-history perspective By Jane Hamlett, Andrew Alexander, Adrian R. Bailey and Gareth Shaw, published by, accessdate: 2011-02-18
  3. ^ ''Twentieth century industrial archaeology'' By Michael Stratton, Barrie Stuart Trinder Page 82. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  4. ^ Associated British Foods: History[dead link]
  5. ^ James Gulliver Chairman of Food Group dies at 66 New York Times, 17 September 1996
  6. ^ Somerfield: History[dead link]
  7. ^ "Celtic Match Programmes 1985". Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  8. ^ "Celtic Match Programmes 1987". Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Aisle of Plenty lyrics". Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  10. ^ United Kingdom. "Louis Sherwood". Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  11. ^ "Strategy in Retailing: the development of Kwik Save Group plc". Retrieved 2011-02-18.