Family firm Lanchester Group invests £6.5m to expand warehousing capacity

The group is heading for “millionaire” status in terms of storage space as it copes with growth in Greencroft Bottling business

Logistics manager John Mitcheson at Lanchester Groups Nest Road, Felling, bonded warehouse. Also pictured, Stephen Dodd, assistant manager (right), and Steve McGrath
Logistics manager John Mitcheson at Lanchester Groups Nest Road, Felling, bonded warehouse. Also pictured, Stephen Dodd, assistant manager (right), and Steve McGrath

A family-run drinks and gifts group based in County Durham is investing £6.5m to boost its storage capacity to cope with rapid growth.

Lanchester Group has taken up additional warehousing in Felling, Gateshead, bringing its total storage close to one million square feet – new space the firm said gives it the largest bonded warehouse capacity in the North.

The group operates Lanchester Wines, Lanchester Wine Sales, Lanchester Gifts, Lanchester Energy and newly-launched pet gift brand Best In Show, but the latest expansion follows fast growth at its Greencroft Bottling business.

Established in 2003, the firm has grown to be one of the largest wine bottlers in Europe, operating five lines at its factory, and its rapid growth has resulted in the business being recognised two years’ running in the London Stock Exchange book 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

The new space will help the firm keep pace with the rising rate of production at the Annfield Plain-based Greencroft Bottling plan, where most of the wine it bottles is made up of New World varieties, mainly imported in bulk through Teesport for the UK market.

All told, the group is investing £6.5m in new storage facilities on Tyneside as it creates between 20 and 25 new jobs on the back of a rise in turnover to £80m, up 23% from £65m.

The newest addition to the group’s warehouse portfolio is 225,000sqft and the largest single off-site warehousing unit in the portfolio.

The bonded storage facility, acquired from Gateshead Council, will come into use in early summer after the company has completed renovation and insulation works.

Other new facilities include 135,000sqft, also in Felling, and 100,000sqft at Blaydon, plus its original 450,000sqft at Annfield Plain, making a total of more than 900,000sqft.

As part of the expansion, Lanchester, which employs 350 people, is spending a further £1.5m at its Annfield Plain headquarters site to improve roads and parking on and around the site.

A third of that investment will go on LED lighting for the site, contributing to the group’s “carbon negative” status.

It has also invested in a fleet of 20 new gas-powered Toyota Tonero forklift trucks to service the new facilities.

Group managing director Tony Cleary said: “Buying these three new major facilities has been extremely important for the group to ensure we are able to maintain our recent growth.

“There is a shortage of very large warehouses in the region and I am absolutely delighted to have secured these for our portfolio.

“Our new warehousing facilities enable us to maintain our continued growth at both our Annfield Plain headquarters and in other parts of the region.

“We are excited to be able to renovate and bring back to life previously redundant warehousing facilities in Blaydon and Felling, creating new jobs in the process.”

“We are extremely proud at Lanchester to remain a family business that is delivering sustainable growth and new jobs across North East England in the most environmentally sustainable manner possible.”

A total of 55 new permanent full-time posts have been created across the group’s divisions in recent weeks and another 40 temporary jobs are in the pipeline.

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