Blakemore is to sell of its Gateshead depot to fellow Landmark buying group member United Wholesale Grocers (UWG).

The Tyne and Wear depot will be the Scotland-based wholesaler's first cash and carry south of the border when it changes hands in June.

UWG managing director Amaan Ramzan said: “At a time of consolidation and change in the sector, we have recognised the need to invest both in our business and the wholesale sector as a whole."

Announced at Landmark’s annual conference in Alicante in Spain, the deal ends long-standing attempts by Blakemore to offload its entire wholesale operation as a single going concern. 

An industry expert said Bestway had considered purchasing Blakemore's wholesale operation, but got "cold feet" back in March. Others warned that the wholesale division 'lacks value' needed to make other parties interested in acquiring it as a going concern.

Blakemore's Hexham depot shut down without a buyer in mid 2017, followed by the sale of its Penrith depot at the end of 2017. The company also considered opening two cash and carrys to the public, one of which was the Gateshead site.

In mid 2017 a senior source in the company described the wholesale arm as not being in a strong position and operations director Paul Rabone described performance as “pretty poor.”

A staff member at the Gateshead depot said they were unaware of the takeover. UWG confirmed at the conference that all staff at the depot would be kept in employment.

Blakemore now has 11 remaining cash and carries, a 20% reduction compared to this time last year.

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