John Menzies

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For other uses, see John Menzies (disambiguation).
John Menzies plc
Traded as LSEMNZS
Industry Distribution
Founded 1833
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Key people
Iain Napier (chairman)
Jeremy Stafford (CEO)
Paula Bell (CFO)
Revenue £1,999.9 million (2014)[1]
£30.2 million (2014, before exceptionals of £16.2m)[1]
Divisions Menzies Aviation
Menzies Distribution

John Menzies plc (MEN-zeez, traditionally /ˈmɪŋɪs/ MING-iss) is a Scottish business established in 1833. It has two main divisions: Menzies Distribution and Menzies Aviation and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

John Menzies ran High Street and railway station shops, particularly in Scotland, through a retail division which dealt in newspapers, magazines, books, stationery and other products which was sold to rival WH Smith in the late 1990s.[2]


A John Menzies shop on High Street

The company was founded by John Menzies of Edinburgh, a Victorian entrepreneur who built up his small newsagent business (established when he was 25 years old) into a national chain: his grave is in Warriston Cemetery Edinburgh.[3]

In 1988 the business purchased 66 of the Martin Retail Group's largest stores in England, doubling John Menzies' floor-space overnight. These stores (which had previously traded as Martin the Newsagent, Lavells Newsagents, Lewis Meeson, RS McColl, Sperrings, and House of Andrew) were quickly rebranded as Menzies' stores. The retail operation was sold to W H Smith High Street (and some to WHSmith Europe Travel Retail) in 1998 to enable Menzies to concentrate on its distribution business.[2]

In 2007 John Menzies merged its newspaper and magazine wholesale distribution businesses in Northern Ireland into a joint venture with Eason & Son to be called EM News Distribution.[4]


Menzies Aviation is a provider of aviation services to the global airline industry, which operates in 149 Airports and 31 Countries around the world. Its service offer is split between Ground Handling, Cargo Handling and Cargo Forwarding, which is conducted by its independently run subsidiary, Air Menzies International (AMI).

Ground Handling

At 143 airports across the globe, this stream of the business supports millions of passengers every year from the check-in desk to the runway, on behalf of their airlines. Its service menu includes issuing tickets, handling baggage, boarding passengers and towing planes.

Cargo Handling

The business offers full ramp transfer, load management and import/export handling services, supported by warehousing and trucking facilities which can help convey valuable consignments to the next step in their supply chains.

Cargo Forwarding (AMI)

Air freight is an expensive means of transport and requires a certain critical mass of cargo in order to be viable. Acting as a neutral agent, AMI buys belly space in flights across the world and consolidates cargo into them for its customers, whose loads would otherwise be too small to warrant the minimum space purchase required by airlines.


A Menzies Distribution van delivering newspapers in London.

Menzies Distribution is a major logistics supplier in the United Kingdom. It provides final mile delivery for 110 million delivery units each year, serving customers in the press, travel and third-party logistics sectors. The division operates one of the largest overnight logistics networks in the UK. According to the company’s 2014 Annual Report, Menzies Distribution drives its vehicle fleet 130,000 miles every day in the course of making its deliveries, a process staged from 8 ‘hub’ and 31 ‘spoke’ facilities across the country. Menzies Distribution’s service offer is split into 5 distinct areas:

Trucking – moving bulk supplies of products long distance across the UK, using large trucks.

Final mile – cross-docking, picking, packing and delivering products to their end destinations with a fleet of smaller vans; also providing reverse logistics for the same product categories.

Hand-to-hand – micro-delivery services and product sampling, handing items directly to the businesses and consumers for whom they are intended.

Response – fulfilment services tailored for e-commerce and mail order; storing, picking and despatching stock items on demand.

FORE – an independently-run, specialist consultancy which advises retail businesses on category management.


The name Menzies is traditionally pronounced /ˈmɪŋɪs/ MING-iss, as the "z" is historically the letter ȝ (yogh). Even in Scotland (where the name "Menzies" originated), the name of the retail stores was increasingly pronounced as "John MEN-zeez".

John Menzies provides a humorous guide to the correct pronunciation.[5]


  1. ^ a b Preliminary Results 2012
  2. ^ a b Menzies sells shops to WH Smith in GBP 64m deal Scotland on Sunday, 8 March 1998
  3. ^ "Warriston Cemetery". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  4. ^ "Eason and Menzies to form joint venture in Ireland". John Menzies Plc Online News (John Menzies Plc). 2007-01-03. 
  5. ^ John Menzies: Name pronunciation at the Wayback Machine (archived September 30, 2007)

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