The Top 50 posted a whacking 35% hike in profits last year. But that doesn’t mean they’re all in rude health – or that the recent flurry of deals signals a new wave of M&A activity, writes Beth Phillips

Deal or no deal? After three years of virtually no mergers and acquisitions in The Top 50, there has suddenly been a flurry of activity.

In November, Spar retailer and Top 50 stalwart Botterills Convenience Stores was acquired by Scotmid Co-op.

Less than a month later, c-store and CTN chain Mills Group was controversially acquired by Tesco’s convenience chain One Stop.

The acquisitions were the first for the Top 50 since United News Shops was acquired by WH Smith in 2008.

And they weren’t one-offs. Just this week, it emerged that Capper & Co was in merger talks, which leaves a question mark over the future of its store division Waynes Foods, and that MRH Retail’s parent company MRH (GB) had sold Pace Fuelcare to Irish energy group DCC.