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New Hedges is ‘exciting milestone’ for retailer

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mccolsMCCOLL’S RETAIL GROUP PLC, the neighbourhood retailer operating in the UK convenience and newsagent sectors, today celebrates the opening of its 750th convenience store. 

This new opening marks a significant milestone for McColl’s as it delivers on its strategy to increase its number of convenience stores to approximately 1,000 by the end of 2016. This follows the successful listing of McColl’s Retail Group plc on the London Stock Exchange in February this year. The 750th store sits in the heart of New Hedges, and attracts customers from a wide catchment area including a significant summer holiday trade. The 2,500 sq ft store was acquired from an independent operator and has been refitted to the McColls format. The store is supplied by NISA, with an extensive ‘Heritage’ range, and also stocks a wide variety of locally sourced produce including fresh meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables with bread and savouries baked freshly in store each day. It operates a comprehensive range of services including a Post Office. It has a large dedicated car park and trades from 6.00am to 10.00pm 7 days a week. In recent years, McColl’s Retail Group has focused on enhancing and expanding the convenience side of its business through the conversion of existing Newsagents into Food and Wine stores, the conversion of its Standard Convenience stores into Premium Convenience stores, selective acquisitions of convenience stores and better utilisation of store space, whilst remaining focused on the neighbourhood retail market. In addition to its 750 Convenience Stores, the group also operates 540 Newsagents across the UK. The Group remains on track to achieve its target of approximately 1,350 stores, consisting of approximately 1,000 Convenience stores and 350 Newsagents, by the end of 2016, through a combination of targeted conversions and acquisitions. Commenting on the store opening, James Lancaster, Chairman and CEO of McColl’s Retail Group, said: “This is an exciting milestone for the Group as we continue to expand our UK convenience store footprint and build on the success of our IPO earlier this year. We are continuing to respond to the needs of our customers by improving and extending the range of products and services we offer and our store expansion and conversion plan remains on track. We are delighted to have opened in New Hedges village and look forward to providing an excellent service to our customers there.” McColl’s Retail Group runs the UK’s largest chain of managed convenience and newsagent stores. It has 750 McColl’s branded UK convenience stores and 540 newsagents and variety stores branded Martin’s except in Scotland where it operates under its heritage brand, RS McColl. It is the leader in the independent managed sector, having doubled the number of its convenience stores over the last seven years. Sales in 2013 were £869m, having grown by almost £200m in the last seven years.

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Port of Milford Haven confirms compliance with National Marine Safety Code

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THE PORT OF MILFORD HAVEN has confirmed its compliance with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC).

The confirmation comes following an audit by leading maritime consultants ABPmer.

The Port Marine Safety Code is a national standard that applies to all harbour authorities. The Code and its accompanying guidance provide an essential toolbox to ensure the control of risk and the maintenance of safety in ports and in the marine environment.

Port of Milford Haven’s Harbourmaster and Marine Director Mike Ryan is proud of the Port’s continued compliance with the Code.

“This is further endorsement and confirmation of everyone’s commitment here at the Port of Milford Haven to providing a safe operation for all port users,” said Mike.

Monty Smedley, ABPmer’s Lead PMSC Auditor, who conducted the audit, said: “I am very pleased to confirm to the Port of Milford Haven’s Board that their harbour operations demonstrated compliance with the requirements of the Code, with many examples that we considered to be industry best practice.”

The MCA’s Ports and VTS Policy Manager, James Hannon, who leads PMSC compliance for the UK government said: “The Code is recognised across the industry and has been developed in partnership by the UK government and industry over the last two decades. The resources set out how ports can assess risks, design safety management systems, and also install governance processes to ensure that a Designated Person is able to evaluate controls and report directly to port duty holders and boards.”

The Port of Milford Haven’s Board formally declares its compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code to the MCA every three years.

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Pembrokeshire business encourages others to take advantage of free courses

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IN LIGHT of the recent Welsh Government announcement on the re-opening of the Welsh tourism sector, Wales. A Food Destination is running a number of masterclass sessions tailored for the hospitality sector.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project which specialises in supporting retail and hospitality businesses to source, serve and sell Welsh food and drink through cafes, restaurants, shops, farmers markets, food festivals, B&B’s and tourist attractions.

Throughout April virtual workshop sessions will take place, covering a variety of areas such as local food and drink pairing, breakfast menu inspiration, how to offer the best customer experience possible, through to creating an authentic local eating experience, with a particular focus on sourcing local ingredients.

According to Laura Alexander, co-coordinator for Wales. A Food Destination, the aim is to give a helping hand to those in the sector looking to source, serve and sell Welsh food in a post Covid world,

“It is great that we are able to offer such a diverse range of training opportunities to hospitality businesses in Wales as the sector prepares to re-open. We know that a lot of businesses have been closed for a long time now, and are looking forward to re-opening and refreshing what they have to offer. We are keen to support them with opportunities for learning.

“The masterclass sessions will hopefully assist businesses in recognising how our first rate produce can make their offer even more attractive and help in boosting the sector at such a crucial time.”

One business who have benefitted from attending one of the recent workshops is Melin Tregwynt, based in Haverfordwest.

“It was great to take the time to look at what we can do to prepare for whatever re-opening throws our way this year. Also to be able to access such a brilliant resource of recipes, information and ideas. Thank you to all involved in delivering these courses.”

The good news is that all courses are delivered virtually and are fully funded for any business who sources, serves and sells Welsh food.

For a full list of courses available, please visit https://www.foodskills.cymru/wales-a-food-destination/events/

Wales. A Food Destination project offers fully funded one-to-one consultations, so if you are a retail and hospitality business and are looking for support or advice then please contact Laura Alexander at wales@lantra.co.uk.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project funded by the Welsh Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. Its aim is to support businesses source, serve and sell Welsh Food & Drink.

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Marketing agency and PR specialist appointed for Visit Pembrokeshire

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Visit Pembrokeshire, Wales’ first Destination Management Organisation (DMO), which launched on 16th November 2020, said in a statement that it is delighted to announce that it has appointed both a marketing agency and a PR specialist.

In a statement, Visit Pembrokeshire said: “This is to help bring to life the county’s 2020-25 Destination Management Plan and to deliver a tourism campaign over the next 12 months.

“Following competitive pitches for both positions, Visit Pembrokeshire confirms that mr.h has been appointed as the marketing agency to develop a new brand identity and shared narrative for Pembrokeshire. The company specialises in the travel and lifestyle sectors and has been tasked with raising the profile of Pembrokeshire, including the destination’s year-round offering, dispersing visitors across the county and driving growth in the visitor economy.”

Also appointed is the experienced public relations specialist Travel PR, which will work in partnership with mr.h and the in-house team at Visit Pembrokeshire.

The shared aim of the agencies is to build awareness of Pembrokeshire’s many wonderful attributes, its ease of access and its year-round offerings – from its stunning coastline to its incredible range of authentic experiences. Growing tourism in a responsible and sustainable way is seen as vital.

The marketing campaign is being funded in part through the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, a scheme which raises funds via second-home council tax premiums. Visit Pembrokeshire was awarded funds to launch an integrated 12-month marketing and PR campaign to grow the value of tourism in the county. Says Emma Thornton, Chief Executive, Visit Pembrokeshire: “This is an exciting step forward for Visit Pembrokeshire. These appointments come at an important time and will support destination recovery. Local businesses and the wider community will benefit from the investment, particularly given the challenges that the tourism industry has faced over the past year.”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, Paul Miller, says: “I’m delighted that Visit Pembrokeshire has made these high-quality appointments which will help to take Pembrokeshire to the next level, ensuring it is rightly seen as a world-class destination. I’m determined to support this industry which is so vital to jobs and our economic vitality, whilst ensuring that we manage the destination in a sustainable way to protect what makes it so special.”

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