Landmark Wholesale and Today’s Group have announced a merger which would create a new super-group called Unitas Wholesale.
Both parties claim that the objective of the proposed merger is to create a larger, more effective and efficient group, dedicated to supporting independent wholesalers.
The name Unitas has been chosen to “signify the principle and desire to work together, focused on common goals and identifying ways whereby all parties can win.”
Darren Goldney, Today’s managing director, said: “Through enhanced scale, relevance and capability, Unitas will be the sustainable wholesale business partner for its supplier base, creating an alternative route to market in the face of the consolidation happening within the wholesale sector.”
Referencing the game-changing Booker/Tesco tie-up, Goldney added: “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, many of whom have a multi-generation legacy of service to independent businesses, be they convenience stores, catering outlets or many of the other businesses we serve.”
John Mills, MD of Landmark, said: “As member-owned organisations and in line with the principles of ‘every business matters, no matter how big or small’, the two groups will decide whether to progress with the proposed merger via a full membership vote process by 6 September 2018.
“Following this date, we will enter into a period of consultation and selection with the management and staff of both groups to create the structure to support Unitas Wholesale. We would expect the transaction to formally complete by November 2018.”
Current 2018 joint business agreements between the two groups and suppliers will remain in place until the end of the calendar year. Unitas’ new trading team will commence discussions with suppliers regarding 2019 terms from November, with operational alignment occurring throughout 2019 via a process of integration.
In the meantime, it will be business as usual for both groups and there will be no further detail until the members’ vote closes on 6 September. “Our focus now is to maintain the excellent job we already do for our members and their independent customers and, importantly, continue our positive relationships and momentum with our supplier partners,” said Mills.
Goldney concluded: “This is a tremendous opportunity which will step change the platform upon which independent business and their supplier partners can thrive. Unitas will create a new and exciting opportunity for suppliers, independent wholesalers and the thousands of independent businesses that we collectively serve.