The Business On... David Birchall, Chief executive, Brand Cellar
Thursday 21 July 2011
Never heard of it.
Fair enough. Brand Cellar is quite a new company set up to "reinvent much-loved brands". Mr Birchall's idea is to relaunch businesses with historic brands that have fallen by the wayside for some reason.
He plans to start with Dewhurst, the chain of butchers founded on Merseyside at the end of the 19th century. It had 1,400 shops by 1997 but nine years later collapsed into administration.
So what's the plan?
Mr Birchall says customer research suggests Dewhurst is a sorely missed brand and he hopes to tap into demand for specialist butchers among shoppers who don't want to buy all their provisions from one of the big supermarkets. A chain of butchers, like before, is unlikely, but the possibilities include partnerships with specialist food shops.
Will it work?
Well, Mr Birchall is right about people's fondness for the Dewhurst brand. And he does know a bit about retail – he was chief executive of Kwik Save, the supermarket group, for a while, though he couldn't save it from falling into administration.
What's his background?
He's an accountant who specialised in business turnaround situations. But he's not flying solo – his management team includes marketing and small business experts, and the board includes luminaries such as Sir Rodney Walker, the former chairman of Wembley Stadium.
Are other brands in the frame for a makeover?
Several are already being given the treatment. The include Zorbit, the makers of the original terry-towel nappies, Conway Stewart, which made posh pens, and Glen Rossie, a big name in the whisky world.
Quite a big deal, then?
The company hopes so. Jonathan Hicks, one of Mr Birchall's colleagues, reckons at least three of their brands could be turning over £100m within three years. Get them right, and there's plenty of money in sausages.
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