AF Blakemore has refused to rule out further depot closures as it continues to seek buyers for its cash & carry business.
The wholesale giant officially announced in April that its 12-strong nationwide cash & carry business had been put up for sale. Last month it confirmed the sale of its Gateshead depot to fellow Landmark Wholesale member United Wholesale Grocers, as well as the planned closure of its nearby Killingworth site.
Killingworth is set to close on Friday and this week Retail Express reported that the Blakemore depots in Barnsley and Newport would close on 15 June, while the company has kicked off a consultation with staff at its Wolverhampton head office who work on the cash & carry business.
These moves will leave Blakemore with sites in Bangor, Birmingham, Cardiff, Grimsby, Middlesbrough, Swansea, Walsall and its head office depot.
However, the wholesaler did not answer The Grocer’s questions as to whether it was close to finding buyers for any of these remaining sites or whether it was likely that any more depots would have to close.
“The company has met with colleagues at our Barnsley cash & carry and Newport cash & carry depots with a view to ceasing trading to customers on Friday June 15, whilst it follows up interest from external parties seeking an alternative use of the premises,” said a Blakemore spokeswoman.
“Blakemore cash & carry head office colleagues based at Wolverhampton Science Park have also been consulted in relation to ceasing activities within departments that form part of the cash & carry division central function.
“This decision has been reached following careful consideration by the AF Blakemore board and the company will provide all the necessary support for colleagues during this time.
“This statement follows our previous announcement dated 3 April in relation to the future of our cash & carry estate and whilst no further comment will be made at the current time, information will be provided as the situation progresses over the coming weeks.”