Source: Unitas

It is unclear if Unitas will enforce its full year-long notice period on its departing members

Five wholesalers with a combined turnover of £210m are set to leave buying group Unitas, The Grocer can reveal.

Four of the departures relate to the new policy introduced by Unitas in June that members cannot also be part of other buying groups.

Rayburn Trading, CK Wholesale, O Reilly’s and Quayside are all also members of Sugro and have elected to remain with the smaller group rather than Unitas.

Unitas introduced the new membership rule in the summer when it announced the termination of rival buying group member, Confex, following a bust-up over membership recruitment.

The Grocer understands Rayburn Trading has formally terminated its Unitas membership, with the remaining three set to follow.

In addition, London-based wholesaler Holland Bazaar, which has a turnover of £93m, is leaving to join Confex.

Unitas would not confirm if it planned to enforce its year-long notice period for the departing wholesalers.

“We are delighted to confirm that Holland Bazaar have applied to join Confex, and have been accepted into our membership, adding to our already quality membership in London, and across the UK,” said Confex MD Tom Gittins. “Whilst membership into Confex is immediate, they will also honour any contractual agreements that apply to them from Unitas.”

Unitas Wholesale was formed following a merger between Today’s Group and Landmark Wholesale in 2018.

“Following the merger, Unitas Wholesale embarked on a journey to simplify and to drive transparency for suppliers on ‘who we are’ and ‘what we will influence’,” said a Unitas spokeswoman.

“Critical to this is working with our wholesale members who can be fully ‘in’ and can therefore participate more closely in our programmes to deliver our shared objectives with suppliers, generating return on their investments and maximising benefits for our members.

“We respect the decision these wholesalers have made in leaving Unitas Wholesale. However, we will continue to work with our supplier partners to ensure Unitas becomes their first-choice business partner and that our efforts to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness are recognised and supported.”