John Menzies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Menzies
Traded asLSEMNZS
HeadquartersEdinburgh, Scotland, UK
Key people
Philipp Joeinig (Executive Chairman)
ServicesGround handling
Number of employees
32,000 [2]
DivisionsMenzies Aviation

John Menzies plc (/ˈmɛnzs/ MEN-zeez, traditionally /ˈmɪŋɪs/ MING-iss) is the holding company of Menzies Aviation, an aviation services business based in Edinburgh, Scotland, providing ground handling, cargo handling, cargo forwarding and fuelling.


The company was founded by John Menzies (1808–1879) of Edinburgh, a Victorian entrepreneur, who built up his small newsagent business (established when he was 25 years old) into a national chain. Menzies died at his townhouse, 3 Grosvenor Crescent in Edinburgh's West End,[3] and was buried in Warriston Cemetery, on the north side of the city.[4]

The retail business expanded throughout Scotland, with High Street and station bookstalls opening in every part of the mainland. In 1941, its branch in Greenock was destroyed outright, in the Greenock Blitz.[5] It would be over thirty years before it reopened a branch in the town. In 1973, John Menzies opened its flagship branch on Princes Street.

Like its outlet in Glasgow, on Buchanan Street, it operated over two floors and incorporated a music section.[6]

In August 1988, the business purchased sixty six 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.

In January 1998, it closed its principal branch in Edinburgh, although the head office continued to occupy the building.[7] The whole retail operation was sold to WHSmith High Street, and some to WHSmith Europe Travel Retail, in May 1998, to enable Menzies to concentrate on its distribution business.[8]

In January 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.[9] The company formerly ran High Street and railway station shops, particularly in Scotland, through a retail division which dealt in newspapers, magazines, books, stationery and other products. This was sold to rival WH Smith in March 1998.[8][10]

On 31 January 2017, Menzies Aviation completed the acquisition of specialist aircraft fueller Aircraft Services International, Inc (ASIG) from BBA Aviation plc for US$202m.[11] A planned merger between the Menzies Distribution and the DX Group collapsed in August 2017. In July 2018, John Menzies announced that it had sold the division to private equity company Endless LLP, with the former owner retaining a 10% share in the business.[12]

On 27 March 2020, the company announced it would lay off more than half of the group's total workforce, in response to the Covid19 Outbreak.[13] The volume of flights Menzies handled globally fell by more than 60% during Q2 in 2020, with the share price falling from £4.80 in January 2020, to a new low of £0.74, on 3 April 2020.[14]


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". National television and radio advertising for the retail business used the latter pronunciation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Executive Management board". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  2. ^ "John Menzies". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  3. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1875-6
  4. ^ "Warriston Cemetery". Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  5. ^ "John Menzies plc – Our History".
  6. ^ "Lost Edinburgh: John Menzies & Co".
  7. ^ "John Menzies to close flagship store". 12 January 1998.
  8. ^ a b Menzies sells shops to WH Smith in GBP 64m deal Scotland on Sunday, 8 March 1998
  9. ^ "Eason and Menzies to form joint venture in Ireland". John Menzies Plc Online News. John Menzies Plc. 3 January 2007.
  10. ^ "John Menzies plc".
  11. ^ "John Menzies buys plane refuelling firm". BBC News. 16 September 2016.
  12. ^ "John Menzies sells distribution business". BBC News. 26 July 2018.
  13. ^ "John Menzies axes 17,500 jobs amid travel slump". BBC News. 27 March 2020. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  14. ^ "John Menzies soars on better trading and strong liquidity, 22 Jun 2020 11:07 | Shares Magazine". Retrieved 30 July 2020.

External links[edit]