UK food wholesaler Booker has entered into an agreement to buy Metro Group’s UK wholesale business Makro UK for a total of £139.7 million. Acquiring its rival will enable Booker to improve choice, prices and service for all customers and will allow the combined business to provide a wider range of food and non-food products via the internet, delivery and cash and carry. The proposed transaction includes Makro UK's network of 30 purpose-built sites which serve more than 1 million customers, predominantly small and medium-sized enterprises—a customer base that complements Booker's focus on catering and retail customers. Makro has struggled in the UK in recent years, posting losses of £63.2 million. Commenting on the proposed deal, Olaf Koch chairman of the management board of Metro Group said he believed the company has “found the right buyer for our challenging UK business”. The acquisition will also allow Metro Group to “further concentrate on countries within our strategic focus”.
Some 20 jobs are under threat at the Artigiano warehouse on the Isle of Wight. Artigiano is owned by Scotts & Co, which also operates Scotts of Stow and Viva. According to local paper, the County Press, a 30-day consultation had begun with staff to preserve as many jobs as possible.
After seeing its retail division—supplying environmentally friendly consumer products—grow sales by 23 percent to £2.7 million, recycling containers specialist Straight says it will further build on its online business in 2012. The division posted underlying profit of £158,000 in the year to 31st December 2011, and says it intend to further develop this lucrative part of the business. Overall, sales at Straight dipped 8.8 percent to £28 million, while underlying operating profits slid from £2 million in 2010 to £200,000 last year.
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