Mace has come under the ownership of one wholesaler in England, Scotland and Wales for the first time following Palmer & Harvey McLane’s acquisition of the Aberness business from Somerfield.
But P&H could have its work cut out holding on to the 70 remaining Scottish Mace independents, as Somerfield has been haemorrhaging their business in recent weeks - with
10 stores going to Spar and another being recruited by Nisa-Today’s.
Other independents have also been looking to switch suppliers, but some said they would give P&H a chance.
Graham Alldred, of G&C Alldred in Stranraer, said the move to P&H was a step in the right direction for his two stores: “It makes a lot of sense because we will finally be getting Mace branded goods in store, instead of just advertising the name on our carrier bags.”
A P&H spokeswoman said the delivered wholesaler would take over responsibility for deliveries in July. She added: “We have invited all Scottish Mace retailers to a presentation on June 3 to discuss plans for the Mace brand in Scotland."
The two Aberness depots will will close with the loss of 75 jobs. P&H will instead supply Mace in Scotland through its Dunfermline distribution centre.
The delivered wholesaler, which is top of The Grocer’s Big 30 ranking, already supplies 245 Mace stores and a further 100 trading as Mace Express.
Somerfield bought the rights to the Mace brand in Scotland when it bought Aberness in March last year. Somerfield said it was selling Aberness in order to focus on its core retail estate. But it will keep the 36 stores owned by Aberness and will run them under its Essentials brand.