Nisa is to open its own office in Northern Ireland following a failed takeover attempt of Food Force Ireland (FFI).

A source told The Grocer Nisa had launched a hostile takeover of the local trading office for Nisa members in Northern Ireland, but had been “unanimously rejected” by Food Force members.

Nisa chief operating officer Amanda Jones confirmed it had hoped to buy FFI, which looks after promotions and deals with local suppliers. “Nisa has for some time been seeking to unify the sourcing of products, currently split between FFI and Scunthorpe, for the mutual benefit of its members,” she said. “A unified offer will be easier for members and more compelling for potential recruits.”

Discussions had been ongoing for the past four months but Nisa and FFI had failed to reach an agreement, she added. “Nisa will therefore explore other opportunities in Ireland, both Northern and the Republic, and will convene a series of presentations to its members and suppliers at which Nisa executives will be able to outline our plans.

“Nisa’s proposal is designed with the best interests of its members in mind and will be focused on providing a wider range of local products, lower costs and greater benefits than are currently available, to the entire Northern Ireland and Republic-based membership.”

The news comes a fortnight after Costcutter revealed its 120 retailers in Northern Ireland would start migrating across from Nisa to Palmer & Harvey next month - four months earlier than planned.

Meanwhile, Nisa has overhauled its retail and support teams in its bid to become a more retail-focused company. It has split its field sales teams into independent and symbol and created two new departments.