0002_Peter Blakemore

Peter Blakemore

AF Blakemore is ready to sell its cash & carry business, The Grocer understands - but potential suitor Bestway is only interested in an all-in deal to include its Spar wholesale and retail business, which is viewed as the jewel in its crown.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Blakemore had appointed KPMG to offload its entire wholesale operation, while retaining its shops.

However, sources close to the deal said only Blakemore Wholesale - the 13 cash & carries supplying independents and Lifestyle Express stores and the Landmark buying group’s biggest member - is for sale.

The cash & carries have been offered to Bestway, with the Telegraph quoting £100m as a price tag, but The Grocer understands the UK’s second biggest cash & carry operator is not interested in buying more cash & carry depots, particularly when the long-term trend in wholesale is towards delivered. “It is interested in the whole thing,” said a senior wholesale source, to increase its buying power in a consolidating market and to gain access to the Spar network and fascia.

Another wholesaler said “regional C&C operators like Dhamecha or Parfetts might be interested in some of the 13 cash & carries.”

Blakemore dismissed the idea of a complete sale. “AF Blakemore & Son Ltd is not for sale,” group director Geoff Hallam told The Grocer.

“We are committed to growing the business for our staff, customers and suppliers. Our focus has been on building a successful company for the next 100 years.”