Our History

Find out a little more about us, who we are and where we came from

The Beginning

James Hall & Co. Limited traces its roots back to 1863 when founder James Hall opened a bacon cutting business and retail shop in Southport, Lancashire. The business prospered and James Hall began to supply other shops with his products, and so began the wholesale business, which was the precursor of today’s modern company.

1889 - 1918

As the wholesaling business grew, so too did the need for larger premises. Before our founder’s death in 1901, James Hall & Co had already expanded  four times into new larger premises, all of which were located in Southport. By this time five of James Hall’s nine children had entered the business.

Meanwhile during the period between 1901 and the end of the First World War in 1918 the range of goods handled had increased, more transportation was required and extra premises in Nelson Street, Preston, were acquired to support the ever growing business.

1918 - 1935

In 1928, a serious fire necessitated the rebuilding of the Southport premises. In 1935, a Preston company, R.Bannister & Co. Ltd. was purchased and the company used the former Banisters premises situated along Heatley Street in Preston, as an additional distribution point.

1950’s & 60’s

By the 1950’s, the third generation of family directors – Stuart, Stanley and Philip Hall had assumed control and the company was operating from two warehouses, one in Southport and another in Preston.

In 1956, the company was among the first of five distributors to be instrumental in introducing SPAR to the UK. This coincided with the building of a new warehouse in Preston, followed by the conversion of the old depot into one of the first wholesale frozen food depots in the country. The next ten years saw tremendous growth within the company, due to the combination of SPAR and improved road systems in the area allowing wholesaling activities to extend over a wider area. In 1966, the premises on Blackpool Road, Preston, were acquired allowing the whole operation to be carried out from one centre and leading to the closure of the Southport site.

1970’s & 1980’s

In the late 1970’s, Ian and Andrew Hall became the fourth generation of the Hall family to become Directors of James Hall & Co. Ltd.

In the 1980’s, the slogan ‘8 till late’ catapulted SPAR to the forefront of convenience shopping with longer opening hours, improved store standards and an enhanced range of stock. All around Britain, independent retailers and wholesalers prospered with SPAR.

By 1986, the company had expanded its operation to cover the whole of the North of England. James Hall & Co. serviced SPAR outlets from its warehouse which was divided into four main areas – fresh chilled foods, frozen foods, ambient grocery and a large food manufacturing and processing area.

1990’s – 2012

During this time James Hall & Co. has continued to grow and has expanded its portfolio of businesses with the acquisition of a Sandwich Factory in Blackpool, Clayton Park Bakery in Accrington and G.A.P. forecourt and non food distributor.

In February 2010, James Hall & Co. Ltd. moved to a multi million pound purpose built distribution centre on the outskirts of Preston, overlooking junction 31a of the M6 motorway at Fulwood. The design of the new distribution depot has ensured a truly multi-functional site capable of handling all types of goods and fresh food manufacturing. 


2013 - Now

2013 marked the 150th anniversary of James Hall & Co. A mural was painted in the offices depicting the company’s progress over the years. 

James Hall & Co. have continued to acquire a range of business to help support the SPAR brand in the North of England, including the North East Convenience Group and Fazilas Ethnic Convenience Food.

2017 saw us celebrate 60 Years Of SPAR in the UK with some huge celebrations taking place throughout the year. James Hall & Co. continue to be a relevant, forward thinking and market leading business within a competitive market place. We are currently extending our warehouse facilities to ensure that we continue to be a successful business.