Bestway is to retain all stores inherited as part of its acquisition of Conviviality Retail and run them as a company-owned c-store division, the wholesaler has confirmed.

The Conviviality Retail estate of 769 stores comprises 398 Bargain Booze, 213 Select Convenience, 31 Wine Rack and 127 WS Retail (Central Convenience) outlets.

Most Bargain Booze and Select Convenience outlets, and some of the Central stores, are operated by franchisees, and Bestway Wholesale managing director Martin Race also confirmed to C-Store that the franchisee system would continue to run as before, with all four brands retained in the marketplace, enhanced by the wholesaler’s existing buying power of £3.3bn.

The lease for the Crewe distribution warehouse will be retained, along with the current management team.

Race said: “Bargain Booze is a great business which works due to the hard work of the franchisees.

“Franchising works for all sides. Franchisees have a nationally-recognised brand in Bargain Booze and their commitment to stocking great promotions and service level agreements mean that we can work with supply partners to add value for franchisees while increasing sales for all parties concerned.

“The company-owned stores we acquired are all well-run, disciplined stores. We will retain all the company stores in the estate and use our shared learnings and knowledge from our own symbol estate, combined with those of our new stores, to enhance the offer and make them convenience destinations.”

Bestway acquired the assets of the troubled Conviviality Retail from the administrators on 6 April. Accounts for the last financial year for Conviviality Retail show retail sales value for Bargain Booze, Select Convenience and Wine Rack of £445m, while WSR reported unaudited revenue of £75.7m.

Commenting on the deal, Bestway Group chief executive officer Zameer Choudrey said: “This deal provides much-needed certainty to these stores and our priority will be to stabilise the supply of stock into these businesses.”