Sir; While there is no disputing the facts in your analysis of c-store takeovers (August 21, p34), it is critical to draw a qualitative distinction between the actions of Musgrave and those of the multiples.
Our acquisitions of Budgens in 2002 and Londis in 2004 should be seen as the independent convenience store sector consolidating in order to strengthen its position.
Musgrave purchases stores to help individual retailers take their businesses on to the next level, and to deliver a quality alternative to the multiples. The stores which we acquire retain their branding, their ownership and their ethos.
Musgrave’s programme, announced in April, to seek individual retailers to operate the Budgens corporate estate, is testament to our vision of the future of UK convenience stores being driven by the independent franchise model, not by a head office-led operation.
By contrast, the acquisitions by Tesco of Adminstore and T& S, and by Sainsbury of Bells and now Jacksons, exemplify aggressive acquisition where the overriding aim is to own greater market share. The multiples are entering the sector in order to dominate it, not to nurture it.
Musgrave is proud to use its strength not to “muscle in” on the convenience store sector as you suggest, but to “muscle out” the multiples where we can.