Palmer & Harvey makes 42,000 deliveries a week of products ranging from cigarettes and wine to groceries to corner shops, convenience stores, multiple grocers and petrol stations around the UK. The Hove-based company claims to deliver 26% of the tobacco and 15% of the confectionery sold in the UK. This is achieved from a range of some 12,000 products. Customers also have access to a further 60,000 products from bread to batteries and flowers to fireworks, through a third party drop shipment scheme.
In February 2002, the current management team, led by chairman Christopher Adams, bought the company for a reported £170m, backed by Barclays. An earlier management team, led by Phillip Hudson, had originally bought out the company from the descendents of its founder in 1988, when Palmer & Harvey had sales of around £850m. Archibald Stone originally founded the company in north London in 1925 as a tobacco wholesaler. Palmer & Harvey now claims to be Britain’s biggest delivered wholesaler, with sales of £3.2bn and operating profits of £23m in 2001, when it employed 3,665 staff.
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