By Harry Mottram: One the big players in the parcels and logistics sectors have gone into administration leaving customers in the lurch and its 2,200 workers redundant. The Sheffield based firm  with 33 depots across the UK appointed Rick Harrison and Howard Smith from Interpath Advisory as joint administrators on 12 June, 2023.

Writing for the trade publication Print Week reporter Richard Stuart-Turner penned: “The privately-owned business delivered both within the UK and internationally, handling the logistics to over 160 destinations worldwide. The business returned to private ownership in 2020 when it was acquired by Palm Bidco Ltd but since then administrators said it had to navigate a number of pressures which impacted trading, including Covid, high cost inflation, and an increasingly competitive market. In recent weeks, the financial position of the business was such that it needed to seek additional financial support. After several options were explored, the directors took the decision to seek the appointment of administrators.” 

Rick Harrison said: “Tuffnells is one of the UK’s most recognisable logistics companies, providing delivery services to over 4,000 businesses across the UK under its ‘The Big Green Parcel Machine’ brand.

“Unfortunately, the highly competitive nature of the UK parcel delivery market, coupled with significant inflation across the company’s fixed cost base in recent times, has resulted in the company experiencing intense pressure on cashflow. Today’s news will be particularly devastating for Tuffnells’ 2,200 dedicated employees. Regrettably, with deliveries suspended and with no prospect of them resuming in the immediate term, we have had to make the majority of staff redundant. Our utmost priority will be to provide all those impacted with every support they need in making claims to the Redundancy Payments Office and minimising disruption to customers.”

Howard Smith said: “Customers are advised that all transport hubs and depots have been closed until further notice. Our team will be making contact with customers over the coming days to arrange parcel collection.”

Richard Stuart-Turner reported that the administrators advised B2B customers of Tuffnells to log into their customer portal on the company’s website to receive further information on how to retrieve their parcels. It’s a muddle as those customers awaiting their parcels could have to wait to hear news of when and if they will receive them. The administrators said they have a team dedicated to distributing the parcels that failed to be delivered last week. Advice coming from the team is that customers will be contacted soon to advise when they may see their parcel.

The received wisdom is that the firm were hit by inflation and cash flow issues and struggled to adjust to the increase in e-commerce home deliveries accelerated by the pandemic.

The business was founded by Harold J Tuffnell in 1914 with just a horse and cart and an investment of £100. It has passed through a number of owners but in 2020 Tuffnells Parcells Express Limited was acquired by Palm Bidco Limited. Picture: Sky News.


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