ACS has been campaigning against consolidation of the c-store sector, and recently made submissions to the OFT urging it to refer the takeovers of Adminstore by Tesco and of Bells Stores by Sainsbury.
This week Colin Holmes, head of Tesco’s c-store business said: “Consolidation in convenience will continue, reshaping the market in coming years. We are unable to support ACS’s strong stance on this issue.”
The move by T& S puts Bells Stores, the other ACS member owned by a major multiple, in a difficult position.
Sainsbury’s Local, the c-store arm of its parent, was a member of the ACS for two years. But it failed to renew its membership in 2002 when the previously standalone division was subsumed back into the parent.
Bells joint MD Steven Bell, a former chairman of ACS, would not comment other than to say his company was a strong supporter of the association.
ACS chief executive David Rae paid tribute to the contribution T&S made to the ACS, and to the commitment shown by Holmes over the past year when he has been a member of the board.