Thresher lands leapingsalmon.com

  • Tuesday 8 July 2003

The Thresher Group, the UK's largest off-licence chain, has acquired the leapingsalmon.com food company in a deal worth up to £5m.

The company's stores will start selling leapingsalmon's hand-prepared gourmet meals from later on this summer in what is being seen as an attempt to fend off ever-increasing competition from UK supermarket chains.

Leapingsalmon.com was established in 1999 by entrepreneur James Marshall. Marshall set up the site for busy urban professionals who demand high quality food but don't have the time to buy and prepare it. Last year it sold 100,000 meal kits, mostly in London, though it is not believed to have broken into profit yet.

Thresher will install chiller cabinets in 500 of its 2039 stores, specifically those in train stations and those that serve heavy commuter traffic. They will offer packs with all the ingredients for dishes such as leapingsalmon's Thai green curry or its Portuguese chicken paella, as well as healthy snacks like humous and Taramasalata.

The off-licence group will also sell its wine through the leapingsalmon website.

'It's an unusual move but one we are very excited about as we want people to re-appraise our stores,' David Williams, chief executive of Thresher, said. 'Many of our customers say they want to buy food as well when they come into our shops.'

Earlier this year Threshers launched its Origin brand of wines, which sources wine from around the world according to the quality of an area's grape crop, and has recently introduced a new range of expensive 'Prestige' wines aimed at affluent young professionals.

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