Appleby Westward, the South West Spar distributor, has acquired 17-site c-store group Denovo Retail Limited for an undisclosed sum.

Denovo Paulsgrove

The former Denovo store in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth, has just been converted to Spar

The acquisition of Southampton-based Denovo Retail will take Appleby’s total company-owned Spar estate to 88 stores.

Most of Denovo’s stores are Co-op branded under a Southern Co-op franchise programme. Two of the 17 stores are forecourts.

As part of the deal, Denovo’s two directors, industry stalwarts Tony Start and Steve Wilkinson, will launch a new business in partnership with Appleby to drive Spar store acquisitions throughout the South West.

Start and Wilkinson will spearhead the new business, Wessex Retail Limited, as directors and shareholders.

Appleby managing director Mike Boardman said: “This is a very exciting acquisition for us which strengthens both our wholesale and retail businesses quickly with over £20m additional annual retail turnover and nearly £4m Texaco branded fuel. It is very good news all round for our supply base and retailers.

“Both Tony and Steve are well known figures in the convenience market and bring a wealth of knowledge in identifying sites and acquiring businesses.”

Boardman told C-Store that Wessex Retail already had a few stores in the pipeline which were expected to be trading by 2020.

“We also have strong investment plans with our own retail estate, and the acquisition of Denovo and launch of Wessex Retail gives us a great platform for future growth as we move into the 2020s,” he added.

Start said: “We are looking forward to getting out into the trade in the south west and acquiring stores. Appleby Westward and Spar are the best in convenience in the region for product range, the overall support they are able to offer retailers and their excellent reputation for consistently high service levels.”