The UK's largest specialist off-licence retailer
Thresher was the largest specialist off-licence (alcohol) retailer in the UK with approximately 2,500 stores selling wine, beer and spirits.
Asset-Backed: The business had a strong asset backing, with the property portfolio representing approximately £130m of value.
Requiring Fundamental Change: Thresher offered the opportunity for an operational turnaround through cost reduction, improved procurement and merchandising and a more sophisticated pricing strategy, as well as a rationalisation of the property portfolio.
- A comprehensive operational turnaround was implemented, including an improved pricing structure, systematic store and manager performance monitoring and the renegotiation of new supply agreements.
- Following successful pilots, three new trading strategies were implemented in appropriate store segments. A rebranding excerise was also undertaken with a different brand for the high-, mid- and low-price convenience markets.
- The estate was segmented - according to customer type, purchase occasion, location and size - and rationalised, with around 275 unprofitable, low-potential shops closed or sold over a three-year period.
- A new senior management team was appointed to drive operational turnaround and the lease renegotiations.
Developing through capital expenditure
- Threshers invested in a number of new trading strategies and fascias to drive brand recognition.
Building through mergers and acquisitions
- Threshers acquired approximately 200 stores from Unwins after it had gone into administration.
Lowering the cost of capital to create extra upside
- Threshers took advantage of the buoyant retail property market by undertaking a significant site-by-site sale-and-leaseback programme over an 18-month period.
Status of Investment: The Thresher Group was sold to a financial buyer in June 2007.