Today's Group members have reacted positively to the company's plans to split from Nisa-Today's.

The wholesale arm of Nisa-Today's launched a consultation this week to consider demerging from Nisa and forming its own standalone business.

Today's Group held a meeting for its members at Nisa-Today's annual exhibition in Stoneleigh where the consultation was officially launched and members could quiz the company on the plans.

About 25% of Today's 228 members had attended the meeting and first indications had been "positive", said MD Bill Laird. It now planned to hold regional meetings with members before making a decision in the summer. If the demerger is agreed, Today's would become a standalone company in January 2012.

Nisa-Today's MD Neil Turton said Nisa-Today's had become increasingly retail-focused in recent years and demerging Today's would give the wholesale arm increased clarity and focus. Today's Group has a 33% representation on Nisa-Today's board of directors, with just five of the 15-group board wholesale members.

"We have tried to run Today's as an autonomous business for some time but the offer lacks clarity because it has a different positioning from Nisa," Turton said. "Today's is part of the group board but sometimes the focus is not as much as it might be on that part of the business. With its own board and a separate company, wholesale members can ask their own questions."

Laird stressed that the proposed split was not a breakaway because the two companies were both performing strongly and would continue to work closely together if a demerger were agreed.

Industry experts said the consultation made sense because the companies were now increasingly stepping on each other's toes. Nisa-Today's has a flourishing symbol fascia and in December last year launched its first national TV ad campaign. Today's Group also has big plans to expand its own symbol fascia over coming years.

One wholesale source predicted suppliers would also welcome a split for better clarity, but warned smaller wholesalers could miss out.

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Today’s Group ponders Nisa divorce (4 April 2011)
Costcutter will make Nisa decision by 2012 (2 April 2011)