Palmer and Harvey (P&H) has acquired Leeds-based wholesaler WH & HM Young in a move which leaves Key Lekkerland with just one independent member, JW Filshill in Scotland.
P&H said the acquisition would enable it to continue to extend its ambient and chilled offering and become a cross-category, one-stop shop for independents in the North of England. The company described the move as "an excellent fit".
P&H managing director of operations Julian Streeter told C-Store: "Yorkshire and the East coast is one area in which we have been under-represented. We recognise chilled as a growth category and the one-stop shop element is key."
Lee Furness, managing director and former owner of Youngs, said: "Being part of a larger organisation will allow us to grow the business in an increasingly competitive market place."
JW Filshill bosses said it was business as usual for its customers, a view maintained by Key Lekkerland managing director John Liptrot, who added: "There will be no immediate change. There will be discussions going forward, but the service we offer will continue as normal."
Liptrot admitted that a number of KeyStores had converted to the Premier fascia following the purchase of Key Lekkerland member Blueheath by Booker last year, but added that new stores were still opening in the South, particularly in the South West.

P&H is in negotiations to create a second management buyout led by chief executive Chris Etherington. The move would follow the successful management buyout of 2002.

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