|Type||Private limited company|
|Founder||Edwin Henry Booth|
|Headquarters||Ribbleton, Preston, Lancashire, |
Number of locations
|27 retail stores in Northern England|
|Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire|
|Edwin J. Booth (Executive Chairman)|
Nigel Murray (Chief Operating Officer)
Ross Faith (Finance Director)
Paul Tidswell (Head of Retail)
Rebecca Hardman (Head of HR)
John Gill (Head of Commercial Operations & Marketing)
|Products||Food, beverage & tobacco retailing|
|Loss -£6.3m (2016)|
|Owner||Booth Family and staff|
Number of employees
Booths is a chain of high-end supermarkets in Northern England. Most of its branches are in Lancashire, but there are also branches in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. It has been described as the "Waitrose of the North" by sources such as The Daily Telegraph. Booths has attempted to compete on quality as opposed to just price and has been developed on the motto "to sell the best quality goods in shops staffed by first class assistants".
E.H. Booth & Co. Ltd was founded in June 1847 when 19-year-old tea dealer Edwin Henry Booth opened a shop called the China House in Blackpool. In 1863, he added the sale of wines and spirits, and branches were opened in Lytham in 1879 and Blackburn in 1884. The business was incorporated as a private limited company in 1896.
Edwin's son John opened cafes in the stores in 1902 and invited all staff to become shareholders in 1920. It has remained owned by the Booth family and staff ever since, comprising over 250 shareholders in 2011 and with no individual having more than 12% of the total shares. The current chairman, Edwin J. Booth, is the fifth generation.
In a feature article in The Guardian in 2008, David Webster, the former chairman and co-founder of Britain's Safeway chain (which had sold out to Morrisons in 2004), said that he had tried to buy out Booths several times over the years, as did several of his rivals: "One thought Booths would have disappeared ages ago but it jolly well hasn't. It is obviously doing an outstanding job for its customers."
From beginning as a tea shop in Blackpool, Booths grew into the first chain of supermarkets in the area, and even though it has now been eclipsed by bigger supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury's, it boasted 28 stores across the region in 2016.
In 2006 Booths achieved second place in the list of the World's Greatest Food Retailers. The panel of top designers, architects, analysts, journalists, suppliers and retailers was brought together by national trade publication, The Grocer, and asked to rank their favourite food retailers from anywhere in the world. They were impressed by the quality of the company's offer, its focus on local sourcing and head for innovation. Simon Bell, retail director of foodservice firm Leathams, voted Booths' Chorley store first above Selfridges in London. He applauds its excellent customer service, knowledge of products and friendly staff.
In June 2005 the current Chairman, Edwin J Booth, was awarded the BITC (Business in the Community) Prince of Wales Ambassador Award for North West England. This is given to individuals whose leadership and commitment to responsible business practice and the actions they have taken personally have created a positive impact both inside their company and on the wider society. He was also finalist for the Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year (North).
A new head office was opened in early 2006 in Ribbleton, Preston and includes environmentally friendly features, such as using rainwater to flush the toilets. In 2011 Booths opened two new stores in MediaCityUK and Penrith, Cumbria. A new Booths store in Milnthorpe opened on 14 November 2012 and one in Barrowford opened on 4 December 2014. A branch opened in July 2015 in Burscough, followed by a store in St Annes in September and had renovated their store in Poulton-le-Fylde.
In 2015 Booths was named Independent Retail Chain of the Year at The Grocer Gold Awards. In February 2017 the chain launched a luxury hampers and gift website. As of 11 October 2017 AmazonFresh sell a range of Booths branded products for home delivery in selected areas.
In 2021 it was confirmed that the MediaCityUK branch was to close within months due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. After 10 years it closed for trade in February 2021, bringing the total number of Booths stores to 27.
In 2021 the store introduced ice cream for dogs as part of its range of frozen desserts.
In May 2014, the store rebranded its own-label milk as 'Fair Milk', increasing its farmgate milk price to a yearly average of 34.4 pence per litre, and thus paying farmers more for their milk than any other UK supermarket. Booths became a finalist in the BITC awards for this campaign in early 2015, presented by Alan Kirby, Jane Green and 'Fair Milk' producer, Claire Barber. As part of Müller's Project Darwin, Booths refused to enter into negotiations to pay a fair price to the processor. A breakdown of communication lead to Müller giving Booths notice and the scheme ceased to operate on the 15 April 2020.
The Artisan speciality food shop and restaurant is a recent development by Booths. The first one was located at the Kendal store, its range is mainly local produce from small producers.
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- "Lancashire Enterprise Partnership - Edwin Booth, Chairman". www.lancashirelep.co.uk. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
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- "Booths teams up with Amazon to sell down South for the first time". The Telegraph. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- Partington, Richard (26 November 2017). "Grocer Booths up for sale for between £130m-£150m, says report". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
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- "No. 62507". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2018. p. N8.
- https://www.booths.co.uk/stores/[bare URL]
- "Booths names own-label milk 'Fair Milk' and raises farmgate price". The Grocer. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Beckett, Simon (14 November 2004). "FOOD & DRINK: Local heroes". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 11 June 2008.[dead link]
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