That's according to Moore Large MD Nigel Moore. The slimming down of the H&J wholesaler network - southern dealers got a letter about the closure of the Epsom branch at the beginning of February, and the Airdrie branch was closed before that - is a reorganisation, not a retreat, says Moore, adding "Moore Large has the highest capital worth of any distributor in the country."

H&J branch closures are not indicative of financial woes at Moore Large

Moore says there are no plans to immediately close other branches of H&J Supplies Ltd. There are branches at Bristol, Manchester, Ilkeston and Gateshead.

The Airdrie and Epsom branch managers – Pat McGarry and Ken Ransome – are remaining with the Moore Large group, McGarry as an agent for Scotland and Ransome as the manager charged with retaining H&J contacts with the trade in the south of England.

"We would make the point, before some competitors get excited at what they may think is some financial weakness causing these closures, that Moore Large has the highest capital worth of any distributor in the country and intends to keep it that way," said Nigel Moore.

In 2001 Moore Large had a gross profit of £6.3m on a turnover of £34.6m. H&J Supplies had a turnover of £6.3m.

Moore says that the closure of the two H&J branches will cut overheads.

"It is clear that whilst the cycle trade continues to impersonate the lemming there is a requirement for distributors to pursue the most cost effective way of getting the product to market. Whilst prices are in freefall, overheads continue to rise. This obviously puts strain on the viability of some H & J branches."

"To the customers that have written to me concerning the closure of their local branch, I can only say I share their regret, but trust that the alternatives we put in place will be acceptable to them.

"As a company, we are acutely aware of the importance of all our customers and pledge our continuing support. It’s just that the method of doing so may have to change."


The Epsom branch of H&J closes next Wednesday and there are closing-down bargains right through until the last day.

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