Politics is in a fluid situation at the moment, as is the future structure of the independent sector.
If Tesco-Booker was surprising, then Sainsbury-Nisa is an obvious response. As I write this, it is still a long way from actually happening (as I said, it’s a fluid situation) but in the meantime Nisa members will have questions, for this or any other proposed merger or takeover in future. What difference will increased scale make in real terms? What other benefits are likely? What is the value attached to owning part of a mutual business, or being a smaller part of something bigger?
Supermarkets are seeking new ways to get sales growth without having to invest in building more stores. In essence, the multiples are proposing to source and supply product to independent retailers in return for them carrying the costs of operating premises and paying staff, and losing any element of control over their supply partner. And so to the final question: Is this a match made in heaven, or is it selling your soul to the devil?