Independent grocers cannot be blamed for selling out to big cash offers from the likes of Tesco, the Association of Convenience Stores’ new chairman has candidly claimed.
Mike Sherwood, formerly leader of the ACS’ public affairs committee, admitted his view may be controversial but said it was an economic reality while the major supermarkets were still able to guzzle up smaller competitors “with impunity”.
In an opening salvo as he took up his new position, Sherwood, who runs the 11-strong Sherwood Stores chain under the Spar fascia in East Anglia, told The Grocer: “We have to get consolidation into focus. If Tesco came to me and offered £1m for a store, then I admit I would have to think about it very carefully.
“At the moment they have every right to buy up smaller stores but the problem is that they are allowed to do so with impunity and without regulation.”
One of Sherwood’s first moves has been to throw himself into that immediate battle and he was part of an ACS delegation that met with Office of Fair Trading officials last week.
The OFT is expected to respond to calls for a fresh investigation into the grocery retail market later this month.