Sarwars snap up ‘prime site’ for cash and carry

Athif Sarwar: had been hoping to expand into the east for five years. Picture: PA
Athif Sarwar: had been hoping to expand into the east for five years. Picture: PA
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CASH and carry chain United Wholesale, founded by former MP Mohammed Sarwar, has struck a seven-figure deal to expand into Edinburgh.

The Glasgow-based firm, which is run by Sarwar’s sons Athif and Asim, has bought a 68,000sq ft facility near Edinburgh airport as it seeks to grab a 60 per cent share of Scotland’s wholesale market.

United is believed to have paid more than £2 million for the Newbridge site, which was previously owned by entrepreneur Shaf Rasul’s SRA Ventures property arm.

Athif Sarwar said: “We have been aiming to expand into the east coast for the past five years and identified Terston House as the only prime site in the region that offered us the infrastructure and location to meet our growth objectives.”

United Wholesale has two sites in Glasgow, at Maxwell Road and Queenslie, and also offers delivered wholesale services in the west of Scotland.

Pre-tax profits at the firm jumped 22.4 per cent to £2m last year, on turnover 10 per cent higher at £202.5m.

Asim Sarwar said the company was targeting a 50 per cent increase in sales next year and vowed it would be “aggressive on price” as it expands its footprint.

He said: “We will also support the growth of the independent retail sector by offering enhanced credit facilities at a time when our customers do not have access to pre-­recession borrowing levels.”

Rasul – whose business interests span property, asset management and e-commerce – said the Sarwars had beaten a number of rivals to secure the warehouse, which housed his BigOffers clearance outlet before last year’s decision to pull out of the bricks and mortar retail sector.

He added: “We had significant interest in the site and it looked that it would go to a closing date, however Athif showed a greater willingness to get round the table and do a deal.”