Conviviality Retail, owner of Bargain Booze and Wine Rack, today confirmed in a statement to the stock market it is in discussions with Bibby Retail Services over the purchase of its Rhythm & Booze estate.
As revealed by The Grocer earlier this month, Conviviality Retail is understood to be eyeing around 20 of the 50 stores currently trading as Rhythm & Booze.
“Conviviality notes recent media speculation in the trade press in relation to the acquisition of a small number of off-licences from Bibby Retail Services Limited, owner of the Rhythm & Booze chain of off-licences,” the company said in a statement.
“Conviviality confirms that it is in discussions with Bibby Retail Services Limited, but there is no certainty that any transaction will be concluded.”
Bibby Retail, which owns Costcutter, acquired the off-licence chain two years ago after it fell into administration. But according to insiders, the chain has since been “a drain on their profits” and the company is “desperate to sell it”, because it is disappointed with its performance and it doesn’t “fit in with the group’s wider strategy as it focuses on The Buyco”.
The Grocer understands that other companies are also eyeing the estate, including European Food Brokers (EFB), which snapped up 37 Oddbins stores out of administration in 2011 for an undisclosed sum. An insider said the company was looking to buy “the whole lot”.
EFB was unable to confirm or deny at the time of writing. Bibby Line declined to comment.