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Parfetts History

Learn more about the history of Parfetts

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Parfetts is a relatively young company and has grown rapidly since 1980 when the company was first founded. At that time, it was run by Alan Parfett, along with his wife, Pat and eldest son, Steve. A year later, Alan's younger son, Robert, joined the company at their 25,000 sq ft warehouse in Reddish, Stockport.

The company thrived and expanded its operations to Merseyside in 1986 by opening a second depot in Aintree. Even a major fire at the Reddish depot towards the end of that year did not stop Parfett's progress - in less than 14 weeks the company was up and running again in new premises in central Stockport which at 100,000 sq ft is one of the flagship depots, as well as the location of Parfett's head office.

Meanwhile, the Merseyside operation was going from strength to strength. A 40,000 sq ft depot was acquired from a competitor in Anfield in 1989 and a year later, the Aintree depot was re-developed with the construction of a new and purpose built 105,000 sq ft depot.

1989 also saw changes in the structure of the company with Alan Parfett retiring to become Chairman, while Steve Parfett took on the role of Managing Director, assisted by fellow Director, Robert Parfett and Financial Director, Robert Miller.

Parfetts have always been an active member of Landmark Wholesale, the UK's leading wholesale buying group. Alan Parfett himself was on the group's board of directors for many years and, after he stepped down in 1994, Steve was elected onto the board, becoming Chairman of the group in 1997.

The 1990's were a time of considerable expansion for Parfetts with the acquisition in 1994 of the 117,000 sq ft former Watson & Phillips Cash & Carry in Somercotes, Derbyshire. This was followed in 1998 by the opening of the company's fifth depot in Halifax, acquired by the purchase of a fellow Landmark member's business.
Further notable achievements came with the new millennium. In 2000, Steve Parfett was elected as the Chairman of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, following in the footsteps of Alan Parfett in the 1980s. Never before have father and son both held this highly-regarded position. Parfetts led the way again in 2002 by becoming one of the first cash & carrys to sponsor a football league club with the shirt sponsorship of Stockport County.

The company's expansion continued with the opening of a sixth depot in the shape of a purpose-built, 75,000 sq ft state-of-the-art warehouse in Sheffield in 2004.

Significant changes were afoot at Parfetts by this time. 2003 saw the appointment of Bill Pace as Trading Director - only the second non-family director in the company's history. In 2006 Robert Miller retired as Finance Director and was replaced on the board by David Grimes, formerly Company Accountant. In 2007, in planning for the long term future of the company, the board set themselves the challenge of finding an effective way of maintaining Parfett's proud record as one of the most successful independents in the field after the retirement of Steve and Robert, the remaining family Directors, even though that will not occur for some years.

In 2007, in planning for the long term future of the company, the board set themselves the challenge of finding an effective way of maintaining Parfett's proud record as one of the most successful independents in the field, anticipating the time when  Steve and Robert, the remaining family Directors, would wish to retire.

After an exhaustive process of evaluating all the options, and mindful of the enormous contribution of the employees to the success to date, in January 2008 a decision was taken to follow the example of the John Lewis Partnership and transfer ownership of the company to the employees.

The first stage of this transition was completed in April 2008, with a legal framework agreed to enable the second stage to take place in the future.

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