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P&H is to be reborn as an online-only delivered wholesaler run by Anthony Ferguson, the owner of Republic of Ireland wholesaler Acumendia. 

The operation claims to be the first internet-enabled grocery wholesaler servicing the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and outsources both its warehousing and logistics in a model described as “the Amazon of convenience” by its founder.

The owner claimed: “Because we hold very little stock, operate no cash and carry depots,
use spare vehicle fleet capacity and make extensive use of technology to reduce costs, P&H (2018) is able to operate more efficiently than existing wholesalers.”

Due for an official launch between April and July 2019, retailers will receive free deliveries on orders priced over £1,350 before VAT and not including tobacco, chilled or frozen. 

A website seen by RN includes the leading brands across all major convenience and food-service categories as well as lines from Landmark’s (now Unitas’) own-label range.

Ferguson confirmed to RN that the new business, registered as P&H (2018) Limited in July last year, has no involvement from former Palmer & Harvey employees, but added that he is in talks with the firm’s administrators to acquire the elements of the defunct wholesaler’s intellectual property. A deal is yet to be finalised.

The news was met with shock by former staff engaged in legal action against the original Palmer & Harvey, with protective award tribunals scheduled between February and April 2019. “Good luck to whoever has bought the name.

I’m pretty sure every supplier in the land wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole,” said one of the firm’s former drivers.

MP Frank Field also confirmed to ex-staff this month that the Pensions Regulator is still considering taking anti-avoidance action related to payments to shareholders that were made as the company collapsed. 

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