EFresh anticipates favourable winter season
As the local tourism industry continues to operate at high levels of occupancy, exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals, distributor of fresh produce and other commodities Everything Fresh (EFresh) is looking to grow sales with the start of the upcoming winter tourist season.
Jamaica, which according to industry figures is expected to welcome over 3.8 million visitors in 2023, is also on track to benefit from over US$4 billion in estimated earnings.
“The outlook for the remainder of 2023 is favourable. Many of our hotel customers are expanding their facilities to have increased capacity in time for the winter season and we intend to supply their increased needs. There are also new entrants to the hotel sector and we expect to participate in supplying their needs when they commence operations,” Managing Director Courtney Pullen said in notes accompanying the company’s latest financials.
EFresh, which is in the business of import and distribution, sells a wide range of products including fresh produce, meats, diary and other dry goods to a large cross section of the hospitality sector and a growing list of retailers locally. Recently transferring a significant portion of its business to its Bog Walk facility, the company now powers its hotel distribution operations and stockholding activities from this site. Its flagship Marcus Garvey Drive location, on the other hand, is now the hub of the retail arm of the business from which it services supermarkets and restaurants.
The entity also holds an 80 per cent stake in a Bahamas subsidiary, Everything Fresh Bahamas Limited.
For the nine months ended September, the company’s sales grew by more than 26 per cent to total $2.4 billion, the lion’s share or some $2 billion of which was earned from its local business and the remainder from The Bahamas subsidiary. The company’s profit, which also climbed $85 million over the period, was $38 million above that earned during the same period last year.
“The overall increase was mainly due to the continued resurgence in the tourism sector in both countries and less COVID-related backlogs in production and shipping capacity causing delays in the movement of inventory and therefore resulting in less supply chain issues in 2023 when compared to 2022,” the company said.
The Bahamas, which up to July of this year is said to have recorded more than 5.89 million in visitor arrivals, its tourism officials believe, based on current performance, is also likely to close out 2023 with record arrivals of more than eight million visitors to result in one of the strongest seasons ever.
As EFresh positions to double down on the upcoming season, Pullen said the aim is to “continue to keep up with the demands of the tourism industry by providing quality products at competitive prices.”
“We have also added staff at the Kingston depot to increase our capacity in warehousing and delivery to the retail sector, as our sales to supermarkets and wholesales also continue to grow,” he added.