Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tea Giant's Move into US Market

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tea Giant's Move into US Market

Article excerpt

Byline: Coreena Ford Business writer

FAMILY firm Ringtons has stars - and stripes - in its eyes after con-firming two distribution deals which will see its famous tea sold across the US.

The 107-year-old Newcastle business, whose customers include luxury grocer Fortnum & Mason, has seen significant market growth over the last year, thanks to its traditional doorstep delivery service, business-to-business and private label divisions all strengthening.

After revealing a heady year in its accounts to June 2013, in which profits grew 26% to PS4m on turnover of PS47.3m, substantial investments were made in IT and production facilities to meet rising demand from export markets.

Now those overseas sales are set to soar after distribution contracts were signed with two US firms - both run by fellow Geordies - in deals which will see Ringtons tap into a market worth more than $2bn.

Ex-pat John Lucas will be distributing Ringtons tea to consumer and wholesale markets in the east of America from his bases in North Carolina and Michigan, where he runs his company North Atlantic Imports.

Meanwhile, fellow North Easterner Ian Geddes, of the firm Finest English Tea, will be serving the west of America from California.

Simon Smith, from Ringtons, said: "We've always been keen to grow our export offering and knew there was interest from the American market for a 'proper English cup of tea', so we are delighted to have found terrific partners in John and Ian.

"Thanks partly to their North East roots, both Ian and John fully understand the Ringtons brand, our ethos as a family business and our commitment to quality and transparency. They are dedicated to serving up a great cup of Ringtons tea to American tea drinkers." Ringtons was established in 1907 by Samuel Smith, who sold tea by horse and cart to doorsteps across Newcastle. …

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