This week marks the anniversary of the big box invasion into the convenience sector, with the Co-operative Group buying Alldays for £131m on October 28 and Tesco’s T&S deal coming just two days later.
The Co-op has converted 132 former Alldays and plans to complete a further 43 by Christmas. Tesco has converted 67 former One Stops to Express and plans to complete 136 conversions by the end of the financial year and 450 over the next four years.
Supercigs and Dillons have been on the market for eight months. Tesco has replaced Christie and Co, the estate agent in charge of the sale, and management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers has now prepared a prospectus.
“We needed someone new, who was able to take a broader view,” said a Tesco spokesman. He insisted that the sale of the 330 stores, which Tesco still hopes to sell as a job lot, was progressing well.
Christie and Co retail director Mark Sheehan said the company was still working with Tesco on the disposal of smaller underperforming Dillons and One Stop stores. It is understood to have managed the sales of around 50 stores.
“The benefits of having T&S’s share in the c-store market far outweigh the costs of not having shifted a few CTNS and a tail of underperforming One Stop stores,” said one analyst.
Another said: “It’s been a fantastic deal for Tesco, it is seeing sales uplifts of 90% on the first 18 conversions. Supercigs and Dillons are irrelevant. It’s like buying a house and not managing to sell the garden shed.
“Meanwhile you have converted the land the house was on into a housing estate.”