Logistics company Shift has successfully acquired parts of Tuffnells Parcel Express, a prominent delivery company that recently collapsed, resulting in the loss of over 2,000 jobs.
Shift, which is led by 29-year-old entrepreneur Jacob Corlett, has reached an agreement with administrators at Interpath Advisory to purchase the Tuffnells brand and intellectual property assets.
Discussions are ongoing between Shift and Interpath, along with other interested parties, regarding the potential acquisition of leases for Tuffnells’ 33 delivery depots across the country.
The insolvency of Tuffnells has posed a significant threat to the company’s future.
The firm served more than 4,000 business customers and was known for its distinctive green-liveried fleet of lorries that traveled the roads of Britain.
Major clients, such as Evans Cycles relied on Tuffnells’ services.
Shift’s acquisition of the Tuffnells brand ensures the survival of a corporate name with a history dating back to 1914 when Harold Tuffnell began delivering goods with a horse and cart.
However, the fate of the majority of the former Tuffnells workforce remains uncertain and will likely depend on whether a new owner of the depot network can salvage the bulk of the client contracts.
Why did Tuffnells fail?
Tuffnells’ insolvency was attributed to various challenges, including the impact of the COVID pandemic and its aftermath, rising inflation, and increased competition.
Previously owned by Connect Group, a London-listed company formerly associated with WH Smith, Tuffnells was sold to Broad Oak Support Services, a turnaround investor, in 2020 for approximately £15 million.
Shift’s acquisition of Tuffnells’ intellectual property assets is another step toward establishing a logistics technology powerhouse under the leadership of Jacob Corlett, who founded the company in 2017.
Shift’s major clients in the UK include Homebase and IKEA.
With its recent purchase of Berlin-based Movinga in April, Shift claims to have developed an “on-demand delivery marketplace” that surpasses traditional logistics companies in terms of technological advancements.
Mr Corlett said: “Tuffnells is one of the UK’s most recognisable logistics companies, which provides delivery services to over 4,000 businesses across the UK and this acquisition will significantly increase our logistics coverage across the country.
“The acquisition supports our vision for Shift’s tech-driven logistics platform to disrupt both consumer and business logistics, through cutting-edge AI-driven routing decisions and driver management efficiency.
“We are also currently in dialogue with relevant parties to enable us to reopen some depots and provide re-employment opportunities.”
During the year ending 31 December 2021, Tuffnells generated revenue of £178.1m, with operating profit of £2.3m, 24 percent up on the previous 12 months.
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Richard Harrison, joint administrator at Interpath Advisory, said: “We are pleased to have concluded this transaction which secures the future of one of the UK’s longest-standing and well-recognised courier brands, as well helping to facilitate an opportunity for the purchaser to generate a number of jobs.”