Central Convenience store

Appleby Westward MD Mike Boardman said he is open to supplying Central Convenience Stores in the wake of Conviviality’s collapse.

The 127-strong Central Convenience chain is based in the Spar wholesaler’s South West England catchment area, and was only bought by Conviviality in November following the collapse of previous owner Palmer & Harvey.

Conviviality has filed a notice to appoint administrators. The Grocer this week reported that service levels have dropped, with other suppliers putting their account on hold.

Boardman added that he would “never say never” to acquiring the stores, but added that it was “early days” and there were no current plans for an acquisition.

Appleby Westward expanded its company-owned estate when it acquired the Gilletts stores two years ago, which Boardman says has played a key role in driving up profits and enabling it to test the initiatives it promotes to independent retailers.

Boardman added that in a competitive climate, service levels have played a key role in helping Appleby Westward stand out from the crowd, with availability levels around 98%.

He added that Appleby Westward had already picked up the supply for some Mace stores and a couple of Costcutter stores in the wake of P&H’s collapse, and that it has added 20 independent stores to its estate since the start of the financial year.

Appleby Westward is set to smash its target of adding 24 extra independently-owned retail stores by the end of the financial year.