Family tea firm Ringtons raising a tea cup to best ever year

FAMILY tea brand Ringtons has shunned the recession to post a record £41m turnover, the biggest revenue recorded since the firm began trading more than 100 years ago.

featured: Ringtons have been awarded the contract at Armathwaite Hall

FAMILY tea brand Ringtons has shunned the recession to post a record £41m turnover, the biggest revenue recorded since the firm began trading more than 100 years ago.

The Byker-based business enjoyed a heady year during a gloomy economic period which saw its sales soar by £7m in a year, allowing it to take on 23 new employees and strengthen the workforce to 483.

The impressive figures have been achieved through maintaining its focus on delivering high-quality products in its door-to-door-service, and through investing £1m in the company’s facilities.

A further £1m will be invested in the coming year, more staff will be will taken on and a complete rebranding for all of Ringtons’ products is also in progress.

Nigel Smith, executive chairman at Ringtons and great-grandson of the company founder Samuel Smith, said the £41m turnover represented a remarkable year for the firm.

He said: “Tea is a massive market but it’s a very saturated market, yet our tea volumes have climbed significantly higher as we continued to develop strong relationships with supermarkets and grocers.

“For my time in the business, which is approaching 40 years, it is the biggest change we have had in any one year.

“We have also increased staff numbers to 483 and I would expect it to be 500 by the end of the financial year.”

Since 1907 the company has prided itself on its top-quality delivery service, carried out by instantly recognisable vans.

The doorstep delivery service continues to be the firm’s main focus, with 210 vans now operating around the North of England as well as through franchise operations in East Anglia, Liverpool, Edinburgh and towns in between, serving an impressive 300,000 households.

Four delivery franchises have also launched in Exeter this year, and efforts are now being made to take the brand to the retirement towns of the South East.

The last 12 months has also seen the investment of £1m in enhancing its production facilities, a substantial amount of which was spent on the installation of new flavouring, fruit and herb blending lines at its Longbenton production plant.

A Barista Training Facility has also been launched at the Byker head office, allowing Ringtons to further strengthen its position in the business-to-business marketplace.

Last September saw the launch of a new partnership with Port of Tyne, which saw Ringtons’ teas shipped and stored at the South Shields-based facility – a move which has reinforced the firm’s commitment to the region.

Smith said new, later delivery hours had been introduced in the last year, helping them to reach even more families.

“It’s people at home who are the key so our customers tend to be older people or young mothers, but we have changed our delivery hours and making them in the early evening has helped the business.

“In economic times people value high-quality products and services, they have got less money to spend and want more for their bucks, so we have benefited from that.”

As well as taking on more employees in the year ahead, Ringtons will forge ahead with an investment strategy that will see an additional £1m reinvested in improving our packing capacity and production facilities with further to come in the years ahead.

Simon Smith, chief executive at Ringtons, said: “Later this year the Ringtons brand will also introduce new packaging designs across all our product ranges. We anticipate all of this activity will help to further boost our performance this year.”

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