Yorkshire manufacturer marks 30 years with supermarket sustainability drive

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A Leeds manufacturer is marking its 30th anniversary with the launch of an eco-friendly point of sale system designed to support the retail sector drive to reduce plastic waste.

Founded in 1989 by Gerry McLucas from the garage of his family home in North Leeds, Concept Data Display has gone on to become a market leader in the manufacture and supply of in-store communication and merchandising systems. The company works with household names across the UK retail industry including Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Spar, Waitrose, Wilkinson’s, and most of the independent food retail sector.

Whilst on a business trip to Germany with his then employer in the late 1980s, Gerry was tasked by Asda to source data strips: a plastic product for displaying pricing information on supermarket shelves. Frustrated by supply issues, Gerry formed Concept Data Display to fill the gap in what at the time was an emerging market, and use his specialist knowledge to ensure customers were fully compliant with the pricing of goods.

“It wasn’t long before I had to find a permanent premises for the business, as my wife and children were sick of tripping over boxes at home,” notes Gerry. “I initially took a small starter unit on the Limewood Approach in Seacroft, and we eventually took up three of those units before moving to a 5,000sq ft factory on Coal Road.”

In 1997, the company acquired Castleford printing business Colour Display Ltd, which enabled them to introduce screen and digital printing to customers. In 2000, Gerry teamed up with Dave Saunders who brought a wealth of experience in the extrusion industry, and in 2011 they acquired an injection moulding business in Leicester. This acquisition saw the moulding company grow from £1m to £5m turnover.

At its peak, operating as the Concept Group, the business employed over 150 staff with a turnover in excess of £10m. Having felt that they had taken the injection moulding business as far as they could, the decision was taken in 2016 by Gerry and his team to sell it to further its success.
The company has returned to its roots with its latest innovation, the Enviro Ticket Rail: a patent pending shelf-edge display product designed to support the global supermarket drive to reduce plastic waste.

By manufacturing the ticket rail in two pieces, as opposed to the traditional single-piece design, the front section of the Enviro-2 can be easily replaced if the front strip is damaged, enabling retailers to make savings of up to 60% on the amount of waste plastic they create. It also makes them more attractive to waste processors, simplifying the recycling process.

“Almost every day we are seeing steps being taken by the major supermarkets to cut down on waste plastic,” says Gerry. The majority are focusing their efforts on packaging, but there are hundreds and hundreds of metres of plastic sitting on the shelves of supermarkets and convenience stores in shelf-edge ticket rails. These rails are susceptible to breakage, and therefore replaced on a regular basis. Replacing existing rails with our new product can help retailers reduce shelf-front plastic waste by up to 60%.

“I’m really proud that, 30 years on, we are still leading the way in innovation and design and I feel that we are uniquely placed to do just that.”

Today, the Concept Group is a £6 million turnover business comprising Concept Data Display, Colour Display Ltd and the recently acquired Zenith Signs Ltd, employing 80+ people at two sites in Seacroft, from which it provides standard and bespoke point of sale and display products for the retail sector. A 6,000 sq foot extension was recently added at the company’s 30,000 sq ft Concept House headquarters to facilitate continued growth.