South Tyneside 'ex-pats' helping fuel Dicksons online sales boom as pork butchers reports a year of 'positives and negatives' during covid
North East ‘ex-pats’ keen to get their Dicksons fix have helped fuel a ‘boom’ in home delivery sales, cushioning the company from covid-related trading challenges.
After 13 months of being forced to adapt to Covid-induced closures, restrictions and lockdowns, Dicksons Pork Butchers, based at Middlefields Industrial Estate in South Shields, says it has much to celebrate - with new customers, a successful home delivery service and two new shop openings planned for 2021.
Chris Hayman, managing director of Dicksons Pork Butchers, said: “Like many businesses adapting to the changes Covid-19 has brought to the economy, this has been a transformative year for Dicksons.
“As a food manufacturer, we have overseen a number of positives across our wholesale division. In addition to our existing relationships with major supermarket retailers, we have made a number of new partnerships with business to business wholesalers.
“Similarly, the launch of the Dicksons app and our partnership with both Uber Eats and Just Eat could not have come at a better time.
"Using home delivery options, we were able to supply local customers our grocery and deli ranges, as well as hot and cold foods. This kept retail outlets open even when High street footfall was non-existent.”
Mr Hayman said the Dicksons app meant the company could deliver pastries, sausages, meats, and deli ranges direct to the door anywhere in the UK, thanks to a partnership with shipping comany InXpress at Team Valley
"It’s a service we’ve been looking to introduce for several years at the request of North East ex-pats and new customers alike,” he said.
However, Mr Hayman said the company was ‘mindful’ a dip in sales was possible now non-essential shops are due to reopen.
And the past year has seen the company make redundancies, which the firm said were small in number and necessary to “put the business in a better position”.
“It has been a year of positives and negatives for Dicksons,” Mr Hayman added.
"However, with the operational decisions we have taken and the new products and shops we have planned for 2021, like much of the country we are hoping for a more settled year as we move towards some kind of normality in everyday life.”
The two new stores planned for 2021 are set to open in North Tyneside.