Palmer & Harvey McLane has secured a major contract to supply Midlands-based CTN chain Northcliffe Retail for the next five years.

P&H claimed it clinched the deal ahead of rival wholesalers Key Lekkerland and Blueheath.

Starting this month it will service Northcliffe's entire 66-strong company-owned estate as well as becoming the nominated supplier for the 250 Northcliffe Retail Partnership members.

The contract is believed to be worth £75m over five years and will include delivery of an ambient product range of tobacco, confectionery, soft drinks, snacks and grocery. "P&H has impressed us after a lengthy review of its operation, service levels and logistics systems," said Northcliffe Retail MD Colin Mullins. "We believe it will add value to our business in the future. We look forward to a long and rewarding business partnership."

P&H national accounts sales director Paul Hagon said: "This contract illustrates our total overall package to support and service a major retail organisation. Northcliffe Retail appreciates that we can supply innovative distribution and added-value solutions to help it grow its business."

Northcliffe, which trades as Mercury News Shops, Post News Shops and Tele-graph News Shops, was the subject of rumours regarding a sell-off last year before parent company Daily Mail & General Trust Group scrapped plans to off-load its Northcliffe Newspapers Division, of which Northcliffe Retail is part.

Both Stars News Shops and Newsplus Group had expressed interest in some Northcliffe sites.