Words and photo by Dave Barry
The Co-op is buying Nisa, which has several stores in the Scarborough area.
The £137.5m deal has to be approved by the Competition & Markets Authority, which is expected to make a decision by spring.
If the deal is approved, customers will be able to buy Co-op brand products through Nisa stores.
The Co-op is acquiring the wholesale side of the business but not the Nisa stores, as they are run by independent retailers.
Nisa supports nearly 1,200 local retailers and more than 3,200 stores across the UK. Some operate under the Nisa brand and others under their own names.
In the Scarborough area, they include Proudfoot in Newby, Eastfield (two) and Seamer; and Nisa Locals at Cayton Bay and Thornton Dale.
“The Proudfoot Group was firmly in favour of the deal as the Co-op will add buying power and product range to our offering while respecting our culture of independent retailing”, said managing director Marcus Proudfoot. “We look forward to expanding and broadening our supply relationship with Nisa via the Co-op Group.
“The Proudfoot Group will remain independently owned and operated by the Proudfoot family. We’re excited by the prospects of working with the Co-op Group and the synergy benefits it will afford us, strengthening the Proudfoot Group offering and delivering the best value, range and service for our customers”.
Nisa chairman Peter Hartley said: “The convenience store environment is changing rapidly, and is unrecognisable from that which existed when Nisa was founded more than 40 years ago. Co-op will add buying power and product range to our offering, while respecting our culture of independence”.
Co-op Food chief executive Jo Whitfield added: “Together, Co-op and Nisa can go from strength to strength”.
The Co-op will be taking on Nisa’s debt of £105m.
Both companies are owned by their members.
Nisa sales rose 12.4% to £728m in the six months from April to October. In the year ending 2 April 2017, Nisa’s revenue was £1,252bn and pre-tax profit was £2.8m.
Owned by over 4.5m members, the Co-op has 3,800 outlets in communities across the UK. It employs around 69,000 people and has an annual turnover of over £9.5 billion.