Retailers are benefitting from improved product ranges, increased availability and better pricing a year on from Palmer & Harvey’s (P&H) collapse.

P&H entered administration in November last year, leaving around 90,000 retailers with a supplier gap. 

More than 2,200 Costcutter, Mace and Simply Fresh retailers were affected before the symbol group signed an emergency supply contract with Co-op.

At least 40 retailers chose DeeBee Wholesale as their main supplier in the aftermath, according to the company’s retail director, Kevin Kirkbride. 

He told RN: “We helped retailers return to 98% availability, and placed more focus on helping them improve store standards, alongside margins on product categories such as food to go and chilled.

“The lesson we learned from P&H is to not focus on one category. P&H got too heavily in bed with Tesco and it focused too much on tobacco where there was no margin.”

Tom Gittins, business development director of buying group Confex, added that retail customers of its 291 wholesale members can access more products since P&H’s closure.

“P&H was such a big wholesaler that it set the standard price for a lot of products,” he said.

“Many smaller wholesalers couldn’t stock these products because the margins weren’t profitable. The collapse meant suppliers needed more wholesalers and pricing wasn’t as fixed.

“Our foodservice wholesalers also supply more former P&H retail customers, offering them catering advice and equipment.” 

However, Sugro managing director Neil Turton added there has been confusion among suppliers as a result of the collapse.

“The administration of P&H kickstarted a series of consolidations in the market, and there’s a blurring of lines between what might be considered a wholesaler, a multiple and a foodservice business. Account managers from suppliers are finding it difficult to understand where they fit in.”