Retailers have laid out their demands of what benefits they want from independent wholesalers involved in the latest mega merger – Today’s Group and Landmark Wholesale.
Landmark and Today’s are both made up of 182 independent wholesale businesses that club together to get better buying power. The combined revenue of the group is approximately £9bn, dwarfing its closest wholesale rival, Booker, which has a total revenue of £5.3bn.
The new group will be called Unitas Wholesale and will begin trading as one by November 2018. The deal is subject to a ballot of its members, which will be completed by 6 September.
The newly-merged company will also oversee 1,460 stores under its Today’s, Day-Today and Lifestyle Express fascias.
Explaining the reason behind the deal, Today’s Group managing director Darren Goldney said: “We believe that this consolidation is narrowing the options for suppliers and potentially threatening the future of independent businesses as multiple chains expand into the wholesale channel. This merger acts to ensure the sustainable and future success of our members.”
However, ahead of the vote, retailers have outlined what they want wholesalers to consider when making a decision.
One London retailer made it clear that the deal shouldn’t just be about sustainable wholesalers, but sustainable independent retailers, too. “I’m hopeful that the combined group will make life better for retailers, but as ever, the proof is in the pudding,” he said. “Every merger promises lower prices, but that isn’t always the case. They need to guarantee that these will reach retailers.”
In Woodmansterne, Surrey, the owner of The Look In, Ralph Patel, said scale in buying shouldn’t jeopardise scale in ranging. “The challenge will be using its bigger buying power without delisting slower lines that can be crucial in providing a tailored community offering. I hope the merger will make these lines more economical, not just the big sellers.”
Read more: UPDATE: Landmark-Today’s deal ‘could lead to store cull’