Franchised Food Company buys Nutshack, hunts for more takeovers

Franchise brand manager Franchised Food Company (FFCo) has closed a deal today for the purchase of the Nutshack chain for an undisclosed price, and will continue to hunt for further acquisitions as the retail franchise sector consolidates.

Michael Sherlock, FFCo chairman and former Brumby’s CEO, says the acquisition of Nutshack, which sells nuts, confectionery and dried fruits and has 28 franchises in Victoria and Queensland, will push the number of FFCo owned stores up to 135 and increase the company’s revenue to over $53 million.

Last year FFCo purchased the Cold Rock chain of ice cream stores and also owns the Mr Whippy and Pretzel World brands.

“We’ve got four brands under our stewardship now and expansion of Nutshack quickly is definitely a top priority,” Sherlock says.

“We’re expanding well in our other brands and Nutshack will form part of our overall strategy.”

Sherlock says that despite recent pressure on conditions in the retail sector, things are starting to pick up.

“It’s been tough recently but we’re noticing the last couple of weeks things are starting to improve and in some areas there has been a bit of easing,” he said.

“We’re comfortable with our position. I’ve been in retail for 30 years and seen lots of swings and slides; we’ll see it out.”

FFCo CEO and managing director Stan Gordon says the company plans to open Nutshack stores Australia-wide.

“We’ll also examine the possibility of opening dual Cold Rock and Nutshack stores because the two brands are a very good fit.”

Sherlock expects the recent consolidation within the retail franchise sector to continue and says there were plans to growth FFCo’s brand portfolio.

“The retail sector is quite a powerful sector and we’re not the only ones that are doing it,” he said.

“Acquisition makes sense from our point of view. In order to provide the level of support to our franchises that we need to, it can be very expensive. Now with 135 stores we have some good critical mass. To support franchise it’s important to co-brand wherever possible.”

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