What should have been one of the best “feel good” weeks of the year with the hottest temperatures of the year so far has not been that at all, due to the horrendous events in Manchester last Monday evening.

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Paul Hargreaves - Fragmentation

22 May 2017 09:25:48

Paul Hargreaves discusses 'fragmentation' within the industry.

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Following on from my thoughts last time about the differences between the speciality food world and the convenience sector (and thanks for all the response on that), I want to focus this time on margin.Read More
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In spending some time at both these shows last week, it was interesting to compare the two sectors.  In my view, it is time for the Speciality Food Sector to stop being an immature teenager and to grow into an adult.  There are too many companies, both producers/suppliers and retailers, who act on a whim or do things because they have always done them.  Many of these do not make long-term commercial sense. 

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Paul Hargreaves - Off to the show

23 Apr 2017 13:19:38

So, many of us will be off to the Farm Shop & Deli/National Convenience Show this week. I’m writing this on Sunday and will be off later today to help set up our stand. I thought it might be interesting for a moment to compare the three types of shops named in the title of this show: Farm Shops, Delis and Convenience stores. How are these three types of shops doing in the current retail landscape? And what can they learn from each other?Read More
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There was a news story last week, which is still ongoing, that will be used in business courses for years to come. PR companies will use it as a salutary lesson for years to come and undergraduates will be taught “how to devalue a company’s stock in three easy lessons”. I am, of course, referring to the United airlines fiasco or lessons on how not to treat a customer!Read More
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What a fabulous weekend!  I really enjoyed my 3 days away in Tallinn last weekend, and can thoroughly recommend a visit there.  However, I got the timing horribly wrong.  It was 18 degrees at home last week and when we arrived in Tallinn, only 1 degree.  So, do go, but wait until May.  However, that cold weather is thoroughly appropriate for today’s task of helping to proof-read the Christmas Catalogue.  Yes, I know, it’s annoying isn’t it! We’ve only just recovered from the last one, but don’t blame me.  We only followed the larger wholesalers who had been doing it for many years before Cotswold Fayre started!  The belief is that the early bird catches the worm around May!

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Waitrose, performed their best in the last decade during the deepest parts of recession.  By no coincidence, Cotswold Fayre tends to grow faster in times of low economic growth.  Why is this?

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By the time you read this Article 50 may well have been triggered, or it May have been delayed (see what I did there?)  I have made my views on Brexit very clear over the past year, so have many others within the business world, but I like them whilst we voted “Remain” had resigned ourselves to the process of leaving, hoping for a smooth transition.  I wouldn’t say that I have become optimistic about being out of Europe but had begun to see some positives. 

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Paul Hargreaves - Back to Africa

13 Mar 2017 10:13:35

I’m writing this week’s blog from Western Kenya, where I am visiting our project and planning to try and make the children’s centre (orphanage and schools) more self-sufficient. For those who don’t know, we are doing this primarily by investing funds into a farm business. Now, you cry, what does Paul Hargreaves know about farming? And the answer is, “A lot more than I used to”.

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