Franchise holders at Bargain Booze can now buy drinks outside the group

August 24, 2018

Franchise holders at Bargain Booze and Wine Rack can now source 10% of their goods from outside the Bestway Group as part of updates the company has made to contracts following its purchase of the Conviviality Retail division in April.

The updates to the agreement with franchisees include the ability to source up to 10% of goods from outside the company as well as simplified paperwork, 21 days credit on all orders and fewer retro payments, sale or return.

The changes also apply to Select Convenience and Central Convenience – a total of over 2,000 stores – and were communicated to retailers in a number of recent regional meetings.

The measures have been put in place to improve cash flow with an additional scheme put forward that will allow franchisees to earn up to a 4% rebate on wholesale spending across the Bestway Group.

Bestway Retail managing director, David Robinson, said: “Many of our franchisees were impacted by the disruption they had recently experienced, so it was important that we met with as many of them as possible. We wanted to not only communicate our new improved proposition, but also to listen to them and respond to as many questions as possible as we begin to build the plans for the future.

“It’s vital that we meet the needs of our retailers and, by limiting the amount of paperwork, this frees up franchisees’ time for developing their business. The reduction in the number of products franchisees are required to purchase through the company gives store owners the opportunity to support other businesses and provides shoppers with locally sourced products which may not be available centrally.

“The most important thing is that we get the customer offer right. Increasing the number of lines to franchisees allows them the opportunity to widen their range and customer base and increase basket spend and sales. The vast majority of franchisees have responded extremely positively to the new proposition.”

On 9 April this year, former UK drinks conglomerate Conviviality confirmed the sale of its retail division to Bestway for £7.25 million.

The Bestway Group was founded in 1976 and is the UK’s eighth largest privately-owned company. It includes Bestway Wholesale, the UK’s largest independent wholesaler, Best-one, which operates the franchises of over 1,113 convenience stores, Bestway Foodservice, a service for caterers and the hospitality trade, United Bank Limited, the second largest private bank in Pakistan and Bestway Cement, the largest cement producer in Pakistan. The group also operates Wells Pharmacy, the third largest pharmacy business in the UK.

Source: The Drinks Business

Bestway buys Bargain Booze at bargain price

April 8, 2018

Bestway has acquired Bargain Booze and the rest of Conviviality’s retail assets for £7m with immediate effect.

The deal sees Bestway take over the contracts Conviviality holds with individual franchisees, and the direct running of centrally-owned Bargain Booze, Wine Rack and Central Convenience stores.

Zameer Choudrey, Bestway Group CEO, said the deal was “a great fit” for both companies. “This deal provides much-needed certainty to these stores and our priority will be to stabilise the supply of stock into these businesses. These retailers can get back to ‘business as usual’ with the confidence of having the support of the UK’s largest independent wholesaler.

“By stepping in we have ensured the franchisee stores get the support they need and deserve to grow their businesses, as well as continuing to provide choice for shoppers on the high street.”

Choudrey added that the deal had also provided job security to more than 2,300 employees affected by Conviviality’s collapse.

Paul Walker, owner 13 Bargain Booze stores in the north west, told Retail Express: “I’m happy with the news, Bestway have a good track record and like us, when they make a decision it’s their own money at stake. The name above the door should remain Bargain Booze, and I think now we’ve been split off our margins will begin to improve as well.”

However, some franchisees told Retail Express they are not prepared to let their contract change hands and are instead looking to exit the chain. Franchisees previously said they had been left “in the dark” over the company’s collapse.

There are at least 20 franchisees that are planning to leave the group and some have cancelled the direct debits paid to Conviviality.

Those retailers looking to exit the fascia face contract terms demanding store owners must give three months notice to leave the group or pay a year’s franchise fees. But one franchisee told Retail Express: “We’ve received no reassurances or information; the future of our businesses and we haven’t been given any say in the outcome.”

Prior to the move, three Bargain Booze franchisees had told Retail Express that they were looking to move to Bestway’s Best-one franchise, and Bestway’s Symbol development manager James Hall, said: “we have had many enquiries from Bargain Booze retailers.”

The move casts doubt over Bestway’s rumoured plans to acquire Blakemore Wholesale. A senior industry source has told Retail Express that the opportunity to purchase Conviviality’s assets may have caused Bestway to get “cold feet” over Blakemore Wholesale.

Source: Better Retailing