A Western Isles shellfish supplier has successfully expanded its customer base into St Andrews, Glasgow and the Borders during lockdown.

Seas the Catch supplies and promotes sustainable creel caught Hebridean shellfish to established and self-catering accommodation across the Highlands and Islands.

With these outlets closed due to the lockdown, the business successfully adapted its offering by selling fish boxes direct to customers by delivery or through a new click and collect service.

The popularity of these boxes enabled the team to move to monthly deliveries instead of weekly, which gave them time to explore new customers and expand into central Scotland.

READ MORE: North Sea oil and gas industry can speed renewable energy revolution

Seas the Catch now supplies new customers in St Andrews, Glasgow and the Borders with shellfish including crab, langoustines, and scallops.

There has also been high demand for lobster, which has resulted in Seas the Catch working with other local suppliers.

The Isle of Harris-based firm has praised support from Business Gateway, which it said ensured the firm was in a strong position to adapt to the pandemic.

The business, initially launched in 2018, was supported by Business Gateway and received a variety of specialist start-up services including one-to-one business support, advice on business plans and start-up grant funding through the Outer Hebrides Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (OHYES).  

Neil MacLean, co-owner, Seas the Catch, said: “We were initially very concerned when Covid-19 hit, as most of our customers were restaurants and hotels. However, by adapting and targeting new customers, we have now got an opportunity to expand our reach across Scotland.  

“We engaged with Business Gateway when we first launched, and they helped ensure the business was in the best place for growth by providing helpful, strategic and impartial advice. This early support also meant that we were in a strong position going into this crisis as we looked to adapt to the pandemic.”  

Fiona Chisholm, business adviser at Business Gateway, said, “The early stages of setting of your business are vital to get right, as it really helps ensure your business gets off on the right foot.

"We worked with Neil and the Seas the Catch team to do just that and it is rewarding to see how they have responded and enabled the growth of their customer base despite the challenges of lockdown.”  

Wetherspoon has written to its head office staff to say that nearly a third of them risk losing their jobs amid a round of cuts at the pub chain.

The company said that 110 to 130 of the 417 roles in its head office could be axed as it scales back its expansion.

READ MORE: Oil giants must move fast to deliver on net zero pledges

Chief executive John Hutson said that all head office staff, including those who are regionally based, will be affected.

Those in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will escape the cuts.

"The decision is mainly a result of a downturn in trade in the pub and restaurant industry generally, a reduction in the company's rate of expansion and a reduction in the number of pubs operated from 955 in 2015 to 873 today," he said in a statement on Thursday morning.

He said Wetherspoon would work with staff who want to take voluntary redundancy, early retirement, or reduce their working hours in order to reduce the number of people it has to fire.

"The company will listen to suggestions from staff to help avoid or reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which are required," he said.

Chiefs will also be open to unpaid absences such as sabbaticals and study leave, if staff want to take them.

"Wetherspoon is proposing to collectively consult with employees through an employment representative committee, which will be established for this purpose."

Staff who work in the company's 873 pubs will not be impacted by the cuts.
Mr Hutson added: "We should emphasise that no firm decisions have been made at this stage."

"All head office employees will be affected by the process, with the exception of those working directly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland."

The news follows a series of major job losses in recent weeks and months as businesses take stock of the damage caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Already this week big names such as WH Smith, Dixons Carphone, Pizza Express, Hays Travel and DW Sports have said they will cut around 6,000 staff between them.

ITV said it has restarted production on around 70% of its TV shows as lockdown measures ease, and will plough around £960 million into programming this year.

The broadcaster said that profit before tax dropped 93% to £15 million in the first half of the financial year, on revenue of £1.45 billion.

READ MORE: Pensions giant invests in climate transition fund

The drop came despite good viewer numbers, as the company smashed its target for the number of BritBox subscribers in the UK.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: "This has been one of the most challenging times in the history of ITV.

"While our two main sources of revenue - production and advertising - were down significantly in the first half of the year and the outlook remains uncertain, today we are seeing an upward trajectory with productions restarting and advertisers returning to take advantage of our highly effective mass reach and addressable advertising platform, in a brand safe environment.

"We have made good progress in our digital transformation. The majority of our colleagues are working seamlessly at home thanks to the investment we have made in technology and systems and this has helped us continue to deliver on our strategic objectives.

"BritBox is ahead of target on subscribers in the UK and we have announced plans to roll out BritBox internationally.

"The future is still uncertain due to the pandemic but the action we have taken to manage and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 puts us in a good position to continue to invest in our strategy of transforming ITV into a digitally led media and entertainment company."

You can now have the bulletin and the top business news stories sent direct to your email inbox twice-daily for free. Tick Business Bulletin AM edition and Business Bulletin PM edition, and Business Week for the weekly round-up on Sunday, in the newsletters section here to sign up: