United Wholesale buys rival as turnover hits £222m

United Wholesale. Picture: Donald MacLeod
United Wholesale. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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UNITED Wholesale has signalled its intention to grab a greater slice of Scotland’s cash-and-carry market after snapping up a rival in Falkirk.

The Glasgow-based firm, run by the Sarwar family, said the acquisition of M9 Cash & Carry provided an established platform for the group to expand its reach across the Central Belt. It is set to complete the deal, for an undisclosed sum, next month.

The move aligns with United Wholesale’s push into Edinburgh, where it acquired a 68,000sq ft facility close to the city’s airport over a year ago in a seven-figure deal.

United – founded by former MP Mohammed Sarwar – announced the latest acquisition yesterday as it reported a £10 million rise in turnover during the past financial year.

Sales topped £222m for the year-ending 31 December. Pre-tax profit was steady at just over £2m.

It said it had delivered the “strong” performance during a period of continued investment and expansion for the business. This included the extension of its flagship Maxwell Road depot to include licensed products last August.

Staff numbers grew to 240, while there was investment in its “symbol” group which continued to perform strongly against a cut-throat retail landscape and food price delation,

The group launched its Day Today fascia branding in 2004 and now has some 275 independent retailers supporting the scheme. It also operates the U-Save banner, which encompasses about 150 stores.

Managing director Asim Sarwar said: “The acquisition of M9 Cash & Carry represents a key phase in our strategy for growth.

“It is a well-established operation with a strong customer base and we will be looking to grow sales from the site by 50 per cent in the next 24 months.

“The move compliments our existing portfolio and will also act as the perfect launch-pad for the opening of our Newbridge depot in Edinburgh.”

He added: “We are very pleased with the recent financial performance as we make investments which we believe will deliver long-term sustainable growth. Our core objective has been always to support our customers in what continues to be a very challenging economic climate.

“By having our customer at the heart of our strategy, we have been able to deliver aggressively on price, ensuring they can compete with supermarkets and larger retailers.

“Our objective will be to continue to develop this model and customer proposition as we expand our operations across central and east Scotland, cementing our position as Scotland’s number one independent wholesaler.”

The convenience store sector has become one of the most competitive areas of retailing, with Tesco and Sainsbury’s making aggressive moves into the multi-billion pound market.