Camilla Palmer A group of ex-Alldays franchisees have been tipped to snap up Somerfield's Kwik Save stores. Carlisle Group leaders Ron Kirk and Richard Gibbs, along with 13 others, are thought to be in talks with Somerfield and venture capital companies over the 370 outlets. But analysts are sceptical about the city backing the entrepreneurs in an acquisition that could cost up to £200m. Investec Hender-son Crossthwaite's David Stoddart said it was unlikely the city would lend support after financial and managerial troubles at Alldays forced its regional development companies to come back under head office control. "There would be some questions asked, given the past performance at Alldays," he said. He thinks among the major discounters Netto may be eyeing up Kwick Save as a golden opportunity to expand. "It already has the buying, logistics and management structure in place. The Netto brand is growing and fits the demographic profile,"said Stoddard. Neither Somerfield, the Carlisle Group nor Netto would comment. l Somerfield has dismissed claims from suppliers that it is falling behind on payments. "These are isolated incidents ­ we have very good relations with all our suppliers," said a spokesman. {{NEWS }}

Topics