The UK retailer Waitrose has signed an agreement of licensing and distribution with Duchy, giving it exclusive rights to the manufacture and sale
of Duchy’s range of organic food products, Food Navigator reports. Duchy’s profits have been dropping during the past two years. Experts, however, say Duchy’s problems are not a sign that the UK organic sector is declining. According to one analyst, the Duchy deal can not be blamed on the state of the organic market - other branded players like Yeo Valley and Rachel’s are doing fine. In his opinion, Duchy is a special case since some bad decisions were made. The company, according to the analyst, tried to grow too quickly without a clear strategy.
The Duchy range is, according to Waitrose, to be increased from around 200 products to about 500
. Increased investment in the development of the brand are expected to achieve a growth in sales over the next 10 years. All profits from the Duchy business are meant to go to The Prince's Charities Foundation, but, since 2007, no contributions have been made. Until the year to 31 March 2008, Duchy made a profit of 151,717 £, compared with 793,432 £ in the previous year, while operational costs rose from 3.3 million £ to 4 million £ in the same period of time.