The Dillons deal will provide P& H McLane with a major boost, as it supplies TM’s entire nationwide estate. TM’s continuous replenishment system links its EPoS directly through to P& H depots and as the 181 Dillons stores are connected to it over the next four months, P&H will take over supply of them from Tesco. Sales director Paul Hagon said the deal was great news for TM and P&H. He said the group’s nationwide network of depots would enable it to take on the supply of the extra stores very quickly. operating businesses under different fascias.”
In 1999 TM acquired the 700 store Martins group and Saunders said many of the people who worked on that integration were still with TM.
He said all staff would be retained and although a handful of stores overlapped with the existing estate, all Dillons stores would be kept open.
Over the past 18 months the venture capital companies that own TM, Electra and Montagu Private Equity and Management, have tried to sell the group. Retailers including the Co-op and Sainsbury have held talks.
However, analysts suggested the Dillons deal signalled a change in policy. One said: “Companies up for sale do not spend money on acquisitions.”
But they suggested Electra and Montagu would cash in on their investment by selling the c-stores while massive demand for such stores from the multiples has pushed prices sky high.
A spokesman for the owners said the c-stores were “the jewel in the crown” and would not comment.