Bestway Wholesale has bought Conviviality’s retail arm, a day after the company entered administration.
Conviviality’s retail business consists of the brands and distribution facilities for 769 stores operating under the Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Select Convenience, Wine Rack and WS Retail (Central Convenience) brand names. The stores are mainly operated by franchisees.
On Thursday Conviviality plc appointed Matthew Callaghan, Ian Green and David Baxendale of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as joint administrators. Unconfirmed reports say Bestway paid £7m for the business, which was acquired in two separate transactions of WS Retail initially, followed by Bargain Booze and Wine Rack. The group is understood to have enquired about purchasing the WS (Central) store chain following last year’s collapse of P&H, only to be out-bid by Conviviality, which paid £25m for the chain.
Commenting on the deal, Bestway Group chief executive officer Zameer Choudrey said “We feel this acquisition represents a great fit for both Bestway Wholesale and Conviviality’s retail base. This deal provides much needed certainty to these stores and our priority will be to stabilise the supply of stock into these businesses. These retailers can get back to ‘business as usual’ with the confidence of having the support of the UK’s largest independent wholesaler.
“We are also pleased that as a result of the deal we have been able to provide job security to over 2,300 colleagues, who have incredible expertise and experience that will truly be a great asset to our combined business. By stepping in we have also ensured the franchisee stores get the support they need and deserve to grow their businesses, as well as continuing to provide choice for shoppers on the high street.”
Bestway Wholesale trading director Dawood Pervez added: “The purchase of these four businesses will further strengthen our position within the convenience retail sector. We provide our suppliers with a safe and credible trading partner that will provide access to a vastly increased, and the most disciplined, route to market in the independent convenience sector.”
Bestway Wholesale operates 63 warehouses, and the group also operates 770 pharmacy stores under the Well brand. The group has an annual turnover of £3.3bn.
Conviviality Retail’s 769 stores comprise 398 Bargain Booze, 213 Select Convenience 31 Wine Rack and 127 WSR outlets. Accounts for the last financial year for Conviviality Retail show revenues of £375.8m and retail sales value for Bargain Booze, Select Convenience and Wine Rack of £445m. For FY17, WSR reported unaudited revenue of £75.7m.
Last week, Dublin-based C&C Group, which owns the Magners and Tennent’s brands among others, completed the acquisition of Conviviality’s Matthew Clark and Bibendum on-trade distribution operations, and now owns 100% of the share capital of Matthew Clark Bibendum.
This story was initially posted on 6/4/18 and updated on 9/4/18.