"The concept of cash and carry outlets has become more difficult to justify in some areas as the market has changed," said company chairman John Moore. The Gateshead branch of H&J has closed; the Manchester branch is to go independent, run by Mike Townsend; Bristol and Ilkeston H&J's stay as is.

Moore Large reshapes H&J Supplies

"The high proportion of fixed overheads in the branches has been difficult to overcome when combined with lower prices of cycles and parts over the last few years," said John Moore.

"Many customers are more reluctant to travel to branches because of the time taken to negotiate traffic, especially where they have reduced their own staff in order to become more competitive.

"Our experiment of keeping certain key staff, either as agents or continuing employees, seems to be well accepted in Scotland and in Epsom, where we now have the addition of a travelling van carrying goods."

This experiment will be continued in the North East, said Moore. The Gateshead/Team Valley branch has been closed, with Derren Sarginson kept on as agent for the North East.

The Manchester branch was due to close at the end of the year, but will now be taken over by Mike Townsend, with H&J Supplies since its purchase by Moore Large in 1985.

"He has worked hard to make the company a force in the trade," said Moore.

"In recognition of this, we have offered Mike the chance to open his own distribution depot in the Manchester area. He has accepted this offer and will leave the employ of the company after the closure of the branch, as will Mark and Steve Henshaw, both of whom will probably be joining Mike."

Moore Large will not have any equity in Townsend’s new venture, but will be a supplier of "a high proportion of his purchases," said John Moore.

"We will be strengthening representation in the North West, in order that, together, we and Mike can be in the same strong position as we are at the moment."

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