·  COOK’s 100th shop opens in Poynton, Cheshire

·  Sibling CEOs attribute success to strong community ties

·  Sales up +16% at £109m – without being in any of the big six supermarkets

·  Growth bucks trend of high street retail closures 

Independent frozen food pioneer, COOK, has opened its 100th shop in Poynton, Cheshire, continuing its healthy growth while other retailers struggle, with sales up 16 percent in the last 11 months at £109m.

The shop in Poynton, sandwiched between Stockport and Macclesfield, will create 12 new jobs in the local community. COOK’s 100th store opens on the heels of research from the British Retail Consortium revealing the closure of 6,000 high street shops over the last five years, and the collapse of The Body Shop into administration.

Rosie Brown and Ed Perry, siblings and joint CEOs, said COOK’s success comes down to wholeheartedly serving local communities. Brown said: “Our ambition for every COOK shop is for it to be right at the heart of the local community. We give our shop teams the tools and freedom to forge deep connections locally. We believe great communities need great shops. The two go hand in hand. It’s the way we can deliver positive social impact and drive business growth at the same time.”

COOK’s Community Kitchen initiative supports local events with discounted food and distributes free meals through a charity partner specific to each shop. Since being launched during lockdown it has given away more than 400,000 meals to people in need. In addition, every new shop is opened by a local hero, nominated by customers for the work they do in the community. In recognition of COOK’s commitment to communities, it was named Responsible Retailer of the Year at this month’s Retail Week Awards.

COOK’s award-winning homemade frozen meals were inspired by Brown and Perry’s mum, Anne, who would batch cook for the freezer when they were growing up. Everything is still hand-prepared from kitchen cupboard ingredients.

The business has grown to in excess of £100m without working with any of the big supermarkets – highly unusual in the British grocery landscape. In addition to its 100 shops, COOK also sells through branded freezers in more than 1,000 independent retailers, farm shops and convenience stores.

Perry said COOK’s bricks and mortar shops have been performing strongly as the surge in online shopping during the Covid pandemic has ebbed. “We don’t believe the high street is dying. It’s evolving for sure. But our physical shops are growing faster than online right now. People will always be drawn to a shop that offers them a differentiated product and great hospitality, where they feel welcome and cared for.”

Customers at the Poynton store will be able to purchase COOK’s full range of award-winning meals and puddings, from home-kitchen classics such as Lasagne Al Forno and Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie, to high-end dishes such as Beef Wellington, Moroccan Spiced Lamb Tagine.

COOK champions British and local farmers, with long-term relationships built over many years. It uses only higher welfare, British chicken in its meals and 100 percent sustainable seafood. Its work with farmers on animal welfare has resulted in five awards from charity, Compassion In World Farming.


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March 2024 issue

2024 A1 Buyers Guide