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LWC eyes expansion

Published:  03 June, 2021

LWC Drinks has revealed it is on the acquisition trail while also unveiling ambitious plans for the DTC (direct to consumer) side of the business. 

Having had to shelve expansion plans last year due to the pandemic, LWC told Harpers it is now looking to add distribution centres in Scotland and on the east coast in the next five months.

“We would have done it last year,” said MD Ebrahim Mukadam. “We were looking at two businesses, one across the waters in Ireland and one in Scotland. But unfortunately, due to the pandemic we pulled back,” he said. 

On the reverse, the pandemic has, as has been the case for many businesses, accelerated LWC’s DTC plans, having gone from a two-strong team looking after this area to 14 in the past year alone.

“We have put more emphasis on DTC and this is something we are going to continue,” Mukadam said. 

“I want to have that as a completely separate business within our business and it’s an area in which we have to grow quite a bit. At the moment we are only scratching the surface. 

“Our online system, which we designed five years ago, is not easy to work with so we have got a new system being designed that is going to be ready for August. Although we have had that side of the business for a few years, we never focused on it. Now we have a team and we are selling quite a bit.”

In addition to expanding its DTC team, LWC has in May alone taken on about 100 new employees, taking its total number to near 1,000. 

“We have won quite a bit of new business and we are hoping that all the businesses that have been closed will reopen, specifically the nightclubs, which pre-pandemic accounted for 20% of our revenue,” said Mukadam. 

“When we reopened our sales actually did better without the nightclubs. We’re selling more than we did when we had the nightclubs so we’ve grown our existing business.”

LWC opened the doors to its new £12.5m state-of-the-art 173,000 sq ft bonded distribution centre ahead of the reopening of the hospitality industry on 12 April. 

Twice the size of LWC’s previous Openshaw site, the new site marked a “monumental moment” in LWC’s journey, said Mukadam. 

“Our bonded warehouse is now much larger and we bring a lot more wines from overseas that come directly to the warehouse and is bonded. The other advantage is that we didn’t have enough space for office staff, but this space will fit us for another probably 10 to 15 years,” he said.

See the June issue of Harpers for the full profile piece on LWC.