C-store operator Bains, listed 47 in last year’s survey, sold the first of its original portfolio of 11 sites in 2003, followed by five more last year and has now disposed of the final five.
Of the 11, all dotted around Birmingham and the West Midlands, five went to the Co-operative Group and six to independents, including one acquired by a relative of directors John and Harvey Bains. The company had been struggling to cope with rising costs, particularly the minimum
wage, which initially forced it to sell two stores, stop hiring staff and cut back on training.
John Bains said although he was sad to see the stores go, it was the right time to sell. “With the kind of prices being offered at the moment, it was a case of ‘If we do not sell up now and carry on will we regret it later?’”
The Bains brothers will be concentrating on their other business interests, including a confectionery company.
The Grocer Top 50 2005 is published in next week’s issue.