Bettys enjoys its best Christmas sales growth as demand soars

Iconic Yorkshire business Bettys is celebrating its most successful Christmas in the company's near 100 year history, with demand particularly strong across online.

Monday, 23rd January 2017, 10:03 am
Updated Monday, 23rd January 2017, 10:07 am
A waitress outside Bettys in Harrogate. picture mike cowling jun 16 2015

The family-run business said sales were up over 14 per cent on Christmas 2015, with online sales up 30 per cent.

Simon Eyles, managing director of Bettys, said the sales growth was attributable to a number of factors.

“Christmas is a time where people look for some indulgence and look to really treat themselves,” he told The Yorkshire Post. “Bettys is famous for that.”

“Our reputation is becoming increasingly well known beyond Yorkshire and around the world,” Mr Eyles, who became managing director of Bettys last year, said.

He added that customers “from all corners of the world” were treating themselves with Bettys products.

Mr Eyles said: “The online sales are our fastest growing area of the business. Over Christmas we’ve seen ourselves deliver to about 45 countries.

“America is our biggest international market where there’s a real high demand for Bettys products but we’ve also delivered our products to Hong Kong, South Africa and we even delivered a hamper to Bermuda. The Bettys appeal is really stretching across the globe and with our Yorkshire roots it’s great to see that.”

With the online business growing quickly, Mr Eyles says that there is a lot more potential.

“The key is we keep on making sure we’ve got products that more and more people are wanting,” he added. “It’s about top quality, delicious, indulgent products that are truly unique.”

Hampers saw a strong performance online and Bettys will look to develop more options for customers, Mr Eyles said. Hampers and gift boxes saw growth of 37 per cent year-on-year.

One of the reasons for the success of Bettys is its Yorkshire roots and that is something that the firm is proud of says Mr Eyles.

“Bettys is on so many people’s bucket list,” he said. “When they come to Yorkshire they’ve got to come to Bettys. We are proud of that really.”

In Bettys’ six tea rooms across Yorkshire, sales over the Christmas period grew 8.2 per cent against last year. A total of 202,000 customers were served in catering and 155,000 in retail.

Bettys said 8,600 enjoyed the reservation only Lady Betty Afternoon Tea experience while 12,100 took Bettys traditional Afternoon Tea. Despite the success of its tea rooms across Yorkshire, Mr Eyles says there are no plans to open branches outside of Yorkshire.

Not having branches outside of the region is something “we’re proud of”, he said.

Mr Eyles added: “Our Yorkshire boundaries, we don’t see that as a limitation. We see it as something that makes us unique. It adds to the exclusivity. It adds to a sense of destination.

“You won’t be seeing a Bettys on Oxford Street any time soon.”

Speaking about potential inflationary pressures on the market as Britain begins the process of uncoupling from the European Union, My Eyles said it was difficult to predict what the impacts would be with so much political and economic change.

He added: “One of the good things about having our Yorkshire roots is it’s part of our DNA to make sure that we can provide good value for our customers.

“Even though we are an indulgent, luxury product we are worth every penny.

“That’s why we have seen these figures over Christmas perform so well.

“We’ve got to watch what’s going on in the markets and we do. But our focus is to make sure that we’re still worth every penny.”

Celebrating a sweet centenary

Bettys will be celebrating its centenary year in 2019 and Mr Eyles says it’s going to be a “big moment” for the family-run business.

Although he remained on giving any details on marking 100 years, Mr Eyles did say that they would celebrate in a “unique Bettys way”.

The business was founded in 1919 by Swiss confectioner Frederick Belmont. Bettys & Taylors is now into its fourth generation of family shareholders.

Bettys employs 940 people with 166 working in its craft bakery.

A collaborative CEO team leads the business as opposed to one single CEO.

Simon Eyles has been managing director of the family-run firm for six months.

He said: “I have only been the managing director for six months so it would be fair to say we have a lot of new ideas and new strategies that are still kind of forming.”

Mr Eyles promised “increasingly more magical products” from Bettys for Easter and Christmas 2017. Bettys has already started to look at what it will offer for this year’s Christmas.