Grocers Fortnum & Mason looking to expand overseas

Ewan Venters, chief executive of Fortnum & Mason, said the department store could be launching more branches.  Picture: Toby Williams

Ewan Venters, chief executive of Fortnum & Mason, said the department store could be launching more branches. Picture: Toby Williams

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FORTNUM & Mason, the venerable grocer to the Queen, is considering an expansion into overseas markets after opening only its second store in Britain in 307 years.

Chief executive Ewan Venters told Scotland on Sunday that the department store operator – which is owned by the Weston family – could launch further branches similar to its shop at London’s St Pancras Station, which opened earlier this month.

Venters said that the company already has about 300 points of sale globally thanks to its wholesale agreements.

He said: “We will learn lessons from our store at St Pancras and see how we can apply those in terms of our global business.”

Venters also said that the company will be investing in its online presence. “We’ve been selling through our website since 1998,” he said.

The chief executive said that he wanted to promote the brand outside London, including through the sponsorship of events such as the Fortnum & Mason food and drink awards. Although he has no firm plans to sponsor events in Scotland, Fife-born Venters said he would look at options north of the Border.

He praised the company’s Scottish suppliers, including the Shortbread House of Edinburgh, describing the launch of its products as one of the store’s most successful in recent years.

“About 5 per cent of our online sales come from Scotland,” he said. “That echoes what happened in the past, when customers would order hampers for their shooting and fishing trips.”

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