This article is about Booths Supermarkets. For other uses, see Booth (disambiguation).
E.H.Booth & Co Ltd
Private limited company
Industry High-end Supermarket
Founded 1847[1]
1896 (incorporated)
Founder Edwin Henry Booth
Headquarters Ribbleton, Preston, Lancashire, England, UK
Number of locations
Decrease 28 retail stores in Northern England
Area served
Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire
Key people
Edwin J. Booth (Chairman)
Chris Dee (Chief Executive Officer)
Andrew Rafferty (IT Director)
Jacqueline Lunardi (HR Director)[2]
Products Food, beverage & tobacco retailing
Revenue Decrease £280.75m (2015)[2]
Decrease £3.58m (2015)[2]
Profit Decrease £1.33m (2015)[2]
Owner Booth Family and staff
Number of employees

Booths is a chain of high-end supermarkets in Northern England. Most of its branches are located in Lancashire, but there are also branches in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and North Yorkshire. Booths is said to be the 'Waitrose of the North' by various sources, most notably The Telegraph.[3] Booths attempt to compete on quality as opposed to just price. It has been developed on the motto "to sell the best quality goods in shops staffed by first class assistants".


E.H. Booth & Co. Ltd was founded in June 1847 when 19-year-old tea dealer Edwin Henry Booth opened a shop called The China House in Blackpool. In 1863, he added the sale of wines and spirits, and branches were opened in Lytham in 1879 and Blackburn in 1884. The business was incorporated as a private limited company in 1896.[1]

Edwin's son John opened cafes in the stores in 1902 and invited all staff to become shareholders in 1920.[4] It has remained owned by the Booth family and staff ever since, comprising over 250 shareholders in 2011 and with no individual having more than 12% of the total shares.[5] The current chairman, Edwin J. Booth, is the fifth generation.

In a feature article[6] in The Guardian in 2008, David Webster, the former chairman and co-founder of Britain's Safeway chain (which had sold out to Morrisons in 2004), said that he had tried to buy out Booths several times over the years, as did several of his rivals, adding "one thought Booths would have disappeared ages ago but it jolly well hasn't. It is obviously doing an outstanding job for its customers".

In 2008, Booths were under pressure by Waitrose with rumours of a takeover,[7] which was later 'ruled out'. Booths and Waitrose then formed a buying group together.[8]

From beginning as a tea shop in Blackpool, Booths grew into the first chain of supermarkets in the area, and even though it has now been eclipsed by bigger supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury's, it boasted 28 stores across the region in 2016.


Booths' stores vary in size from 18,000ft2 to 25,000ft2. There are 28 stores over five English counties:

Lancashire Cumbria Yorkshire Cheshire Manchester
Carnforth Kirkby Lonsdale Ilkley Hale Barns MediaCityUK
Scotforth Milnthorpe Ripon Knutsford
Garstang Kendal Settle
Barrowford Ulverston
Clitheroe Windermere
Longridge Penrith
Poulton Keswick
St. Annes
Hesketh Bank
15 7 3 2 1 28


In 2006, Booths achieved second place in the list of the World's Greatest Food Retailers.[9] The panel of top designers, architects, analysts, journalists, suppliers and retailers was brought together by national trade publication, The Grocer, and asked to rank their favourite food retailers from anywhere in the world. They were impressed by the quality of the company's offer, its focus on local sourcing and head for innovation. Simon Bell, retail director of foodservice firm Leathams, voted Booths' Chorley store first above Selfridges in London. He applauds its excellent customer service, knowledge of products and friendly staff.[10]

Booths Central Office, Ribbleton, Preston

In June 2005, the current Chairman, Edwin J Booth, was awarded the BITC (Business in the Community) Prince of Wales Ambassador Award for North West England. This is given to individuals whose leadership and commitment to responsible business practice and the actions they have taken personally have created a positive impact both inside their company and on the wider society.

A new head office was opened in early 2006 in Ribbleton, Preston and includes environmentally friendly features, such as using rainwater to flush the toilets. In 2011 Booths opened two new stores in MediaCityUK[11] and Penrith, Cumbria.[12] A new Booths store in Milnthorpe opened on 14 November 2012 and one in Barrowford opened on 4 December 2014. A branch opened in July 2015 in Burscough, followed by a store in St Annes in September and had renovated their store in Poulton-le-Fylde.

In 2015 Booths were named Independent Retail Chain of the Year at The Grocer Gold Awards.

Fair Milk

Booth's 'Fair Milk' posters in all stores

In May 2014 the store rebranded its own-label milk as ‘Fair Milk’, increasing its farmgate milk price to a yearly average of 34.4 pence per litre, and thus paying farmers more for their milk than any other UK supermarket.[13] Booths became a finalist in the BITC awards for this campaign in early 2015, presented by Alan Kirby, Jane Green and 'Fair Milk' producer, Claire Barber.

However, in May 2016, according to the DEFRA's AHDB league table, Booths' milk price dropped behind Muller Wiseman Dairies' Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer's prices for the month, although staying above on annual average by 0.25p.

Cafe 1847

The Artisan speciality food shop and restaurant is a recent development by Booths. The first one was located at the Kendal store, its range is mainly local produce from small producers.[14]

See also


  1. 1 2 Baren, Maurice (1999). How it all began in Lancashire. Skipton, North Yorkshire: Dalesman Publishing Company Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85568-165-1. OCLC 223029083.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 E.H. Booth & Co. Ltd., Directors' Report and Accounts for the Year Ended 28 March 2015, approved 31 July 2015
  3. Ruddick, Graham (5 February 2015). "'Waitrose of the North' names new chief executive". The Telegraph.
  4. "About us". Booths. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  5. E.H. Booth & Co. Ltd., AR01 Annual Return, 3 October 2011
  6. Sarah Butler, The Guardian 07.07.08, The thinking person's retailer, Guardian News and Media Limited
  7. "UK Food Exports - Waitrose takeover".
  8. "Retail-Week Buying Group".
  9. IGD Retail Analysis – Booths News – Booths Christmas results: another success for the top-end
  10. Booths Supermarkets – News
  11. "Dee-light as Booths promote to board". 24 February 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  12. "Cumbrian town centre". news & star. 5 March 2012. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  13. "Booths names own-label milk 'Fair Milk' and raises farmgate price". Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  14. Beckett, Simon (14 November 2004). "FOOD & DRINK: Local heroes". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 11 June 2008.

External links

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