Sainsbury’s is to close its wholesale division, impacting supply to independent retailers.
The decision will impact direct wholesale accounts with store owners, who were approached by the multiple in November last year. SimplyFresh, who struck a wholesale deal to stock Sainsbury’s products in its stores at the beginning of last year, will also be affected.
A SimplyFresh spokesperson said: “SimplyFresh has been informed by Sainsbury’s that they have taken the unilateral decision to close down their entire Wholesale business in the UK across all channels.
“As a result of this decision, SimplyFresh no longer has an ongoing agreement with Sainsbury’s to supply their products to SimplyFresh and SimplyLocal stores.
“SimplyFresh is firmly committed to our current and future retailers and over the past 18 months has built one of the most comprehensive retail offers for the independent convenience sector, including a sophisticated EPoS & IT infrastructure and purpose-built model for multi-site operators.
“SimplyFresh has quickly begun positive talks with several potential wholesale supply partners to drive future growth. SimplyFresh and SimplyLocal retailers supplied by Costcutter Supermarkets Group remain unaffected.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “As part of our plan to put food back at the heart of Sainsbury’s, we are simplifying our business so we can focus on what matters most to our customers – lower prices, exciting new products and convenient ways to shop.
“To deliver our plan we must prioritise what we do. We have just started talking to our retail partners and colleagues about what this means for the future of wholesale and it will be a gradual process. We know these conversations may cause uncertainty for our partners and colleagues and we are committing to supporting them.”