Bestway and Booker are in the driving seat, but will consolidation among the Big 30 wholesalers accelerate? And what form will it take? Elinor Zuke reports

With fuel prices through the roof, inflation and unemployment on the up, a VAT increase, and the prospect of a rise in interest rates, there’s a sense of foreboding in wholesale.

Until now, as The Grocer’s Big 30 report once again confi rms, the industry has carried on intact: sales were up 6%, and pretax profi t margins remained steady at 1.6%.

Indeed, this year’s list includes double-digit sales increases at Smiths News, Costco, Matthew Clark, James Hall & Co, HT & Co Drinks, Crown Crest, United Wholesale, Reynolds Catering Supplies and DCS Europe.

And there was also a notable improvement in profi ts for Booker, Bestway, Smiths, Menzies, James Hall, Parfetts, Appleby Westward and East End Foods.