Nisa retailers have told C-Store it is business as usual for them as the takeover saga took another twist last week.
The period of exclusivity for Sainsbury’s to make an offer for Nisa ended without a formal offer being put to the board, meaning that the group is now able to talk to other potential takeover or merger partners such as the Co-operative Group. An offer from Sainsbury’s may still be forthcoming later in the year, but C-Store understands that the grocer wanted to wait until the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had ruled on the Tesco-Booker merger before finalising the terms of any deal.
Nisa members contacted by C-Store were still generally positive about a possible bid from Sainsbury’s, but the immediate priority was to focus on day-to-day trading.
Harj Dhasee of Nisa Village Stores in Mickleton, Gloucestershire, is happy to wait and see.
“There is no point in putting in a formal offer and then all waiting on Tesco,” he told C-Store. “Sainsbury’s had put the best proposal forward first with exclusivity and that part had to come to an end. Co-op have now come in, so we will have to see what happens.
“It hasn’t hasn’t really affected business. Nisa is still trading, still price competitive. I’m looking forward to when a deal is presented. It’s a very exciting time.”
Sid Ali, owner of five Nisa stores in Aberdeenshire, said the end of the exclusive period didn’t change the position significantly.
“With any of the bids, whether it is Sainsbury’s or the Co-op, they need to to show that they have a five year plan and offer us better products. How can retailers decide what deal is best when you don’t know what it looks like?
“I think one way or the other, Nisa will change, things cannot continue the way they are. We need to rearrange the whole model. The Co-op did it five years ago, so why can’t we?”
But Jai Patel of Nisa Upper Beeding, West Sussex, doesn’t see the need for a sale at all.
“Leave Nisa as it is. I don’t think consolidation is required, we would lose all our independence,” he said.
“Nisa needs to focus on business rather than trying to sell it off. Get the directors to focus on trading. As long as we’re getting the right range at the right price. If we’re negotiating properly with the big manufacturing brands we’ll be ok. That’s how the multiples have grown over the years – they’ve focused on standards and profitability.”
“I think everyone has come to accept that we are going to end up with one of the grocers, and Sainsbury’s is potentially a really good option. But there’s no uncertainty for us, we just need to crack on with what we do.”
Paul Cheema, Malcolm’s Stores, Coventry
“We have been with Nisa for nearly 30 years and I’m just disappointed that Nisa hasn’t spoken about a deal to its members. No one likes uncertainty, and I wish we had more communication instead of just hearing things second-hand all the time.”
Andy Dike, Dike & Son, Stalbridge, Dorset