Buying group Key Lekkerland is to be wound down and its national accounts shared between Booker, Palmer & Harvey McLane and JW Filshill, as predicted by The Grocer in April.

Speculation over the future of the group has raged ever since three of its four independent members - Blueheath, T&A Symonds and WH & HM Young -

were acquired by Booker and P&H.

MD John Liptrot confirmed the central office would shut next month.

Key Lekkerland's 20 national accounts had been split amicably, he said. Booker would pick up its accounts with cinemas such as Odeon, as well as DVD rental chain Blockbuster, while P&H would gain accounts with Roadchef and the NUS, which it already operated as a part-share with Key Lekkerland. JW Filshill would pick up the Scottish accounts.

The accounts would be passed to the wholesalers from 14 July with the process complete by the end of August, said Liptrot.

Surrendering the national accounts to the three wholesalers would give customers access to their dedicated account management, enhanced warehouse and distribution systems, an extended range and multi-temperature capabilities, he added.

However, question marks remain over the future of Key Lekkerland's symbol group KeyStore as a national brand.

Although Liptrot insisted that Booker, P&H and JW Filshill would continue to operate the stores within their own regions, it is unlikely that P&H or Booker will develop the fascia because they have their own symbol groups - Mace and Premier.

JW Filshill - which operates more than 150 KeyStores in Scotland - is, however, expected to develop the symbol north of the border.

Liptrot said he would continue in his role for a couple of months as part of the "tidying up process".