Bestway’s purchase of Bargain Booze following the collapse of parent-company Conviviality will get retailers “back on an even keel” and bring the scale to generate greater profit.
That is the pledge of Bestway Wholesale’s managing director Martin Race. Talking exclusively to RN, he said the Bestway takeover was intended to “develop and grow” the Bargain Booze business.
“In terms of store development, we will be looking at the overall potential of stores, as many Bargain Booze customers were perhaps too reliant on alcohol and tobacco,” he said, adding that the company intended to look at “other categories to drive footfall”.
The comments came as RN put to Mr Race reports that retailers were looking to move symbol groups in the weeks following Conviviality’s demise.
The company entered administration last week following its failure to raise £125m to settle an outstanding £30m tax debt and pay money owed to creditors.
Speaking more generally, Mr Race added that while the trade hadn’t come together in the same way as it had following P&H’s crash last November Bestway had “tried its upmost to help affected retailers”.
With regards to Bargain Booze, he denied the move to buy the company had been made prior to its seeking administrators. Mr Race also denied rumours that Bestway is poised to buy Blakemore’s wholesale division, the sale of which as an ongoing concern was also announced last week.
“If an opportunity comes up that means we can get stronger rather than bigger, then we will look at it,” he said, adding that the company did not want to overstretch itself. “When we invest, we invest in the right things,” he said.
“The important thing for [Bargain Booze] retailers to recognise is that Bestway has the buying power, scale and logistical expertise to restore a stable supply of stock to these businesses,” Mr Race concluded.