A.F. Blakemore has announced its intention to sell its wholesale division, consisting of 12 cash and carry depots, as a going concern.

The decision will allow AFB to focus investment on its wider business, said joint managing director Geoff Hallam.

“The move away from the cash and carry sector will allow the company to invest further across its wider business and focus its future strategy upon its remaining divisions, as it continues to drive innovation within the retail and wholesale distribution sectors,” he said.

“The company has now informed colleagues and will support all 520 of those impacted throughout this process. Further information will be provided as the situation progresses over the coming weeks.”

AFB is a long-standing member of the Landmark Wholesale buying group and will remain so for the immediate future.

Middlesbrough retailer Bay Bashir, who owns three Lifestyle Express stores supplied by AFB, said he was now looking to move to another symbol group, most likely to be Best-one. “It’s a shame about Blakemore but you’ve got to look out for number one,” he told C-Store. “I knew something was imminent, and it’s put things on a backburner for me. But I don’t understand why the wholesale side is so bad when retail is doing so well at the moment.”

Landmark managing director John Mills said: “We will be sorry to see AFB’s cash & carry depot division changing hands, however we are hopeful that some depots may not leave the Landmark family.

“We understand that in this consolidating market, AFB have to do what is right for their business. We will work closely with their management team during this process.”

The 12 depots are located in Bangor, Barnsley, Birmingham, Cardiff, Gateshead, Grimsby, Killingworth, Middlesbrough, Newport, Swansea, Walsall and Wolverhampton.