Palmer & Harvey McLane, the UK's biggest wholesaler, is restructuring its business as it bids to improve its wafer thin profit margin.

The strategic restructure is to focus on achieving growth specifically across the forecourt, convenience and impulse channels.

The review will involve "innovative retail and supply chain solutions to step change the business in the three channels to deliver profitable growth", said a recruitment ad placed by the company.

P&H made a profit of £19.7m on sales of £3.5bn in in its most recent accounts, representing a profit margin of just 0.6%.

Besides the independent sector, P&H also serves some of the multiples, particularly with tobacco.

A spokeswoman refused to discuss details of the restructure, but said low profit margins were not uncommon in the wholesale sector.

"Delivered wholesale typically operates on margins below 1%," she said.

P&H's profit margin is identical to that of rival Booker, which has a turnover of more than £3bn.

Charles Wilson, chief executive of Booker, told The Grocer recently that as part of a recovery plan it had walked away from unprofitable bulk sales, including contracts with the multiples, to focus on independents and caterers. P&H insisted it had no intention of following its rival's lead.

"Multiple customers are just as integral a part of the P&H business as independent customers," said the P&H spokeswoman.

"We will not be looking to detract from any part of the business."

But she added: "We have had a one-size-fits-all philosophy and recognise the need to be more focused on what customers require.

"We have been reviewing the business since Chris Etherington's appointment as chief executive in June last year.

"P&H is particularly strong in forecourts, convenience and impulse and we have identified these as the key areas for growth."