Bibby Line sells 1,500-strong Costcutter chain to Bestway

Bibby Line Group is one of the oldest businesses in Liverpool and bought Costcutter, which turns over more than £400m a year, nine years ago. Tony McDonough reports

Bibby Line Group has agreed to sell the Costcutter chain


Liverpool financial services and shipping giant Bibby Line Group (BLG) has agreed to sell its 1,500-strong Costcutter convenience store chain to Bestway Wholesale.

BLG, one of Liverpool’s oldest businesses, bought Costcutter Supermarkets Group (CSG) nine years ago. The value of the latest deal is undisclosed but in the year to December 31, 2019, the chain achieved a 10% rise in sales to £426m.

The agreement completes the planned strategic realignment of Bibby Line Group’s portfolio, following the sale of Bibby Distribution to Menzies Distribution which was completed on December 14.

Bestway is the UK’s largest independent wholesaler and Costcutter will now become part of a portfolio of well known high street brands, including Bargain Booze, Best-One and Wine Rack. CSG’s brands also include Kwiksave and Simply Fresh.

BLG chief executive John Creswell, who is about to step down to be replaced by chief financial officer Jonathan Lewis, said: “Over the last two years, CSG has transformed itself into a profitable and much stronger business. I’d like to thank the team for their unstinting commitment and passion for helping independent retailers thrive.

“We hope CSG will continue to prosper and grow as it becomes part of a larger business with deep retail expertise. This is also positive news for Bibby Line Group, completing the planned strategic realignment of our portfolio, further strengthening our Group balance sheet for future investment.”

Based in Exchange Flags in Liverpool city centre, BLG was established as a shipping company in Liverpool in 1807. It is now a diverse business, operating in 16 countries and employing 4,000 people in retail, financial services, distribution, marine and construction equipment hire. It has an annual turnover of around £800m.

Under the acquisition CSG will become part of Bestway Wholesale’s retail division and continue to operate as normal. Dawood Pervez, managing director of Bestway, added: “Costcutter is a great brand with a long heritage and a history of success.

“The acquisition enables us to further build on our solid foundations in independent retail, allowing us to expand on our already established, and highly respected, fascias and national network of stores.  Clearly, there will be benefits of joining forces for our retailers, for shoppers, and for suppliers.”

Completion is conditional on Financial Control Authority approval which is expected in the first quarter of next year. Until that time CSG will remain part of BLG. It was advised by CMS and PwC on the agreed sale.

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