A second Somerfield at Mace retailer has left in as many weeks, again claiming to be fed up with the wait for the new dual-branded fascia to arrive.
Innes MacDonald, who owns single Mace stores at Conon Bridge, Ross-shire and Inverness, is taking his £2m+ annual turnover business to Spar.
He follows in the footsteps of fellow Scottish independent retailer John Murray who last week revealed that he would be throwing his six Mace stores under the Spar fascia (The Grocer, May 7, p11).
Both defections are a bitter blow for Somerfield, which inherited contracts to supply both MacDonald’s and Murray’s stores after buying the Aberness wholesale business and the licence for Mace in Scotland in
March last year. MacDonald’s move means that Somerfield has now lost eight of the 36 Mace supply contracts it secured as part of that deal. Like Murray, MacDonald was a member of the Somerfield at Mace steering group, set up to help the change to dual-branded fascias.
But he, too, said he had become fed up with waiting for his stores to be converted and the lack of communication between Somerfield and Mace retailers. “My family have been Mace members for 30 years,” said MacDonald, “but such uncertainty is bad for business. We need the complete and immediate support of an organisation that has an in-depth knowledge of our marketplace.”
Somerfield spokesman Pete Williams said: “We are disappointed but the loss and acquisition of retailers is normal in symbol group activity and we remain committed to supporting the retailers within the Mace independent retail business.”
He said two new Scottish Mace members had recently joined its ranks.
And the chain had so far opened two Somerfield at Mace stores, a company-owned trial site at Bucksburn and a store in Aberdeen, he added.
“We have always said we needed to test the model before rolling it out.”
Simon Mowbray