UK’s Bestway Retail Gets Andrew Cresswell As Its Chief Retail Officer

January 13, 2019

Andrew Cresswell has been appointed as the Chief Retail Officer, Bestway Retail and he will be in charge of the companies’ owned and franchise stores including the Conviviality brands acquired last year.

The appointment is part of a series of changes Bestway Wholesale announced to its senior leadership team, following the recent appointment of Dawood Pervez as managing director.

Cresswell joins from independent fuel retailer MRH where he serves as the managing director, Retail and takes over from David Robinson, who was instrumental in supporting the transition of Conviviality businesses – Bargain Booze, Select Convenience, Central Convenience and Wine Rack.

In other appointments, Tony Holmes will serve in the new role of Retail Director, overseeing the retail sales proposition for best-one Symbol Group, retail multiple accounts and Bestpets, the pet retail division of Bestway Wholesale. The group said the new role will give independent retailer and pet retail facing teams, a clearer focus.

Holmes, who joined Bestway Wholesale as Sales Director in February 2016, also assumes responsibility for retail business development from James Hall who announced retirement from his role as Business Development Director as of June 2019.

Related: Bestway buys Bargain Booze at bargain price

David Livingstone has stepped up to a new role of Head of Catering as part of the restructuring, in a bid to drive further growth for Bestway Wholesale in the catering market through collect catering and BB Foodservice delivered customers.

Ashar Rehman has also stepped up to the role of Head of Operations, from his previous role as Regional Operations Manager. Rehman brings a wealth of experience, having held positions within Bestway for over 30 years and this role will be pivotal to facilitating excellent service for all customers through the companies’ network of 65 depots.

Dawood Pervez, Managing Director, said, “we’re committed to ensuring we always deliver the best service to our customers, thus providing a clear solution for everyone; whether that’s a Franchise proposition through Bestway Retail, Symbol Group and Retail Club through Bestway Wholesale and Bestway and Batleys Cash & Carry’s, full-service delivered catering through BB Foodservice and Drinks Express or a collect catering range for customers in depot.

“At the end of the day, we want to provide customers with great service and excellent prices on the products they need, and splitting the retail and catering elements into two separate teams, and having Retail reporting into me, will enable all of our brands to be aligned and focused for the benefit of customers. It’s also great to have been able to both attract new talent and to have recognised our employees by appointing from within.”

Source: Eastern Eye

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.

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

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