Conviviality in talks with various parties over sale of Retail arm

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Conviviality has confirmed it is in discussion with a number of parties interested in the purchase of the Retail business, which includes Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Select Convenience and Wine Rack.

On Wednesday, Dublin-based C&C Group, which owns the Magners and Tennent’s brands among others, completed the acquisition of the Matthew Clark and Bibendum on-trade distribution operations, and now owns 100% of the share capital of Matthew Clark Bibendum.

The acquisition is understood to be ring-fenced, separating it from any subsequent administration or sale of Conviviality Retail. Conviviality plc previously announced it would appoint administrators within two weeks from 28 March, although secure creditors can appoint administrators at any time. Reports indicate that administrators could be called in as early as tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Conviviality-affiliated retailers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation. One franchisee said a lack of communication from head office had been particularly disheartening. He said he hoped to hear more from Conviviality this week but at the moment there had been little information.

Davinder Parhar, owner of Bargain Booze Select Convenience in Daventry, Northamptonshire, has decided to cut all ties with Conviviality. A combination of poor communication and availability problems has forced him to make his own plans.

He said: “I’ve had no update at all from head office. I was due an £8,000 order this week and only received about two grand’s worth. The stock has steadily been going down over the last few months.

“I’ve been having to top up on items at the cash and carry but I don’t think there is any truth in the rumours that stores are being forced to close. I heard through the grapevine that Bargain Booze is allowing some retailers to miss their cash flow payments to try and help.”

Davinder also hopes that Conviviality will reveal more information about their administration this week but the news may be too late.

“I have handed in my notice,” he said. “I’m lucky, unlike most retailers, that my lease was coming up and I’ve decided to move on. I think it’s for the best.

“I’m staying in retail and looking to join another fascia. I’ve been speaking with Nisa but I’m looking at all the options. My store isn’t like most Bargain Booze - we do a lot of chilled food and takeaway items.”

He added: “It’s just about finding one that’s right for our store, especially with all the consolidation going on. It’s been a very interesting year.”

This story was updated at 17.59 on 4/4/18.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Well Diana Hunter has done a great job in messing this one up!! I’ve said it before, she’s made a fortune and then walked away.

    What is it with the new management teams in the symbols - messing the whole industry up!

    You can tell those that have been around for some time as they are the ones going from strength to strength I.e Booker & Bestway. They understand convenience retailing and independent retailers!

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  • Observer, you are absolutely spot on there regarding new management teams. Just look at what has happened to Nisa over the last 5 years. People brought in from outside who have destroyed the business for their own personal gain.
    The new team came in with one plan and that was to sell the business from under the Members and make themselves very wealthy.
    They had no understanding of the Independent trade let alone the market place that we trade in.
    These people have made millions out of Nisa.
    Unfortunately the future under CoOp ownership does not look bright for Members.
    But that won’t concern any of Nisa’s management who will all be nursing their grossly inflated bank accounts.
    It is a tragedy of the highest proportion.

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  • Does Bargain Booze have its own warehouse/distribution or does it use another wholesaler to supply its franchisees?

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  • The real tragedy, Nisa retailer, is that the majority of your fellow members voted for the Coop deal.

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  • Professor, two tragedies here. First of all the majority was by the slimmest of margins. (Integrity of the voting process does come into question) Secondly, why so few Nisa Members actually voted?
    But overall the plan by the Management to starve Members of promotional activity and stock availability for the 12 months prior to the vote along with the CFO’s Perfect Storm presentation gave Members the impression that there was no future for Nisa and we had better sell.
    It was a brilliantly executed plan by everyone from the Chairman down.

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  • @Fred Hay. Nisa supply chill & frozen for their select convenience stores.

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  • The people at the top nearly always end up walking away without any financial problems. It's everyone else who has to pay the price and pick up the pieces.

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