Cater Brothers was a supermarket chain based in the South East of England. The business started out in the 19th century as a butchers, before progressing into the grocery business. The company opened their first self-service supermarket in 1958. Ownership changed hands twice during the 1970s, firstly being purchased by Debenhams, before they sold the business in 1979 to Allied Suppliers, the grocery store concern of Cavenham Foods. The business was quickly integrated into Allied's chain of supermarkets, Presto.

Cater Brothers
FounderHenry John Cater
FatePurchased by Allied Suppliers and converted to Presto
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Leslie Erastus Cater
Revenue£54 million (1978)[1]

History edit

Cater Brothers Supermarkets was a natural progression for a family of butchers and greengrocers. Henry Charles Cater (1818-1868) was a pork merchant and latterly a pork butcher in the East End of London. Three of his four sons went on to become a cheesemonger, a grocer and a provisions merchant.[2]

Henry John Cater, one of Henry Charles's sons, is shown in the 1881 census as being a grocer in Bridge Street, Mile End. It was his five sons who took the business over after his death in 1919, with his son Erastus being appointed chairman of the board. By the start of the Second World War the business had around 30 stores.[2]

In 1956, Leslie Erastus, son of Erastus, had taken over the running of the business and was keen to move the company into the new self-service supermarket business.[2] The first supermarket was opened in Bromley in 1958, with branches being added across the South East at a rate of around one a year. The new chain had stores as far away as Reading and Colchester, all supplied by a depot in Dagenham.[3]

In April 1972, Leslie Erastus was killed when a plane, piloted by rival supermarket owner Francis John Wallis of Wallis Supermarkets, crashed in the French Alps.[2] Cater's estate was valued at £91,747. After his death, the Cater family decided to accept an offer of £7 million for the business from Debenhams, in 1973.

Debenhams integrated the business with their 40 food halls, which were modernised and branded as Cater Food Halls and opened a further two new Cater supermarkets. However the business struggled in the competitive 1970s market, and was sold of in 1979, and had lost £975,000 in 1977 and £383,000 in 1978 on a turnover of £54 million.[4][5] Debenhams sold the business and its 24 stores to Cavenham Foods subsidiary Allied Suppliers for £9.5 million.[2][1] Allied Suppliers integrated the new stores into their Presto chain and the Cater Brothers brand was no more. The Cater name, however, lived on longer in Chelmsford, with an office block that was built above the store carrying the Cater House name until it was converted into residential flats and renamed Canside in 2014.[6]

Branches edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Debenhams sells Caters supermarkets for £9.5 million". Financial Times. 4 December 1979. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Waters, David. "Cater Brothers - A Story of a Supermarket". Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  3. ^ Food Processing Industry. Vol. 40. 1971. p. 9.
  4. ^ "Debenhams sell off losing food firm". The Scotsman. 4 December 1979.
  5. ^ "Debenhams sells Caters supermarkets for £9.5m". Financial Times. 4 December 1979.
  6. ^ "Offices in central Chelmsford set for flats". Chelmsford and Mid-Essex Times. 28 December 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Basildon Town Centre Town Square -". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Lost pubs of Bath". Pinterest.
  9. ^ "Final patrol for Harpur Centre's Bill as he retires after four decades of service". Bedford Independent. 30 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Bedford Borough Libraries". Facebook. 7 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Plans; Two copies of plan of proposed alterations at no.290 Roman Road, Bow, for Messrs.Cater Brothers. Architect: J. Reeve Young, ARIBA, 3 Bedford Square, W.C.1". National Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  12. ^ "Bromley timeline 1860-2000". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  13. ^ "The Newham Story". Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Canning Town, Rathbone Street Market. July 1975". Pinterest. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  15. ^ "Stories that gripped Croydon - Croydon Advertiser p. 27 Aug 2010". Archived from the original on 22 April 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Cater House Central, Chelmsford - Taylor & Company". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  17. ^ "The Cross Keys stood on the south east corner of Culver Street East and Long Wyre Street and was closed and demolished in 1970, to make way for the building of Caters supermarket". Pinterest. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  18. ^ a b c d "Cater Bothers". Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  19. ^ "Lower Edmonton - Edmonton Green Shopping Centre". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  20. ^ Kray, Kate (14 February 2003). Killers - Britain's Deadliest Murderers Tell Their Stories by Kate Kray. ISBN 9781784185268. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  21. ^ "The Crown House office block and Caters Supermarket - Merton Memories Photographic Archive". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  22. ^ "Pictures from the past: 8 historic images of Southend High Street from the Echo archives - Evening Echo p.21 Jan 2015". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Muhammad Ali's visit to Hertfordshire - Herts Memories". Retrieved 21 April 2015.