The Boards of Landmark Wholesale and Today’s Group have agreed to merge the two buying groups, to form new company Unitas Wholesale.
The groups have been discussing a merger for several months, with talks leading to both Boards unanimously agreeing to proceed to a members’ vote. Members have a month to approve or reject the proposal, with voting closing on September 6.
The objective of the merger is to create a larger, more effective and efficient group with enhanced scale that is capable of fending off the threat created by the widespread industry consolidation that has seen the likes of Tesco encroach into the wholesale channel with its buyout of Booker.
Current 2018 joint business agreements between the two groups and suppliers remain in place until the end of the calendar year. Unitas’ new trading team will start talking to suppliers about 2019 terms from November, when the merger – if approved – is expected to be formally completed.
Darren Goldney, Managing Director of Today’s Group, said the recent wave of consolidation was potentially threatening the future of independent businesses.
“This merger acts to ensure the sustainable and future success of our members, many of whom have a multi-generation legacy of service to independent businesses, be they convenience stores, catering outlets or many of the other businesses we serve,” he said.
John Mills, Managing Director of Landmark Wholesale, added: “Our focus now is to maintain the excellent job we already do for our members and their independent customers and, importantly, continue our positive relationships and momentum with our supplier partners.”
Goldney concluded: “This is a tremendous opportunity which will step change the platform upon which independent business and their supplier partners can thrive. Unitas will create a new and exciting opportunity for suppliers, independent wholesalers and the thousands of independent businesses that we collectively serve.”