In May, the UK's biggest wholesale company Booker became the junior partner in a "merger" with Iceland, and Booker boss Stuart Rose took over as chief executive of the merged company. Iceland's charismatic founder Malcolm Walker became chairman and talked of going non executive once the integration of the two companies was complete. But the City didn't like the idea of the successful retailer saddled with a debt ridden wholesaler, though heavy duty schmoozing by Walker and Rose convinced most analysts about the synergies of joint buying power and combining Iceland's home shopping abilities with Booker's distribution facilities. The odd couple didn't last long though. They both denied reports of a rift, but in November Rose resigned to take the top job at Arcadia. Booker md Charles Wilson announced he would join Rose in March, and Walker found himself taking a crash course in wholesaling. Meanwhile Iceland frozen food began to appear in cash and carry depots, Malt House Vintners licensed range was making its way into Iceland, and a trial of the depots' ability to service Iceland's home shoppers is now under way. After purchasing six wholesalers in the previous two years, the UK shopping spree by Irish distribution giant BWG ground to a halt after the purchase of Bargain Booze and its fourth Key Lekkerland member, E Round & Son, in January. There was expansion from Bestway, with new depots in Bolton and Peterborough and Best-one, a fascia and delivered wholesale operation. {{NEWS }}