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Drink-drive laws partly to blame

Wines and spirits depot to close in Perthshire

InverarityScotland’s largest independent wines and spirits merchant, Inverarity Morton, is closing its regional depot in Perthshire.

Managing director, Stephen Russell, blamed tough trading conditions combined with spiralling maintenance costs at the Milnathort site.

“The last twelve months haven’t been easy for the licensed trade,” he said.  “A lot of businesses are counting the cost of the aftermath of the new drink:drive legislation in Scotland and continued slow economic recovery.  Poor trading has had a knock-on effect on our business.

“We conducted a full business audit in order to identify ways to cut costs without compromising our service.

“Moving our entire business under one roof made complete commercial sense and will allow us to operate far more effectively and efficiently.”

The company moved its headquarters to larger premises in Glasgow last September, investing £3 million in the refurbishment of the 100,000 sq ft site for the company’s 140 staff, and the installation of leading-edge logistics and back-office systems.

The depot in Milnathort came with the acquisition of Forth Wines in 2013 and needed£500,000 to upgrade the site.

Forth Wines had planned to vacate and sell it for residential redevelopment. The renovation costs further influenced the decision to close, said Mr Russell.

“We looked at all the avenues open to us and the most feasible solution was to close Milnathort. At the time of the acquisition, having a second depot was invaluable, because we were bursting at the seams in our old HQ.

“Now that we have moved, we are more than able to absorb the entire Milnathort operation within our existing infrastructure so our customers will see little or no difference to the way their accounts are managed.”

The company will now engage in a consultation process to minimise redundancies among the 29 Milnathort employees. The management team is looking at measures, including relocation packages.

The closure will be phased between March and May and the 75,000sq ft site put up for sale.

As a composite drinks distributor to the licensed trade, Inverarity Morton employs more than 200 and supplies more than 3,000 on-trade outlets in Scotland.

 

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