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Norfolk shops under new owners as Londis and Budgens bought for £40m

PUBLISHED: 09:58 21 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:58 21 May 2015

The Londis shop. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Londis shop. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The country's largest cash and carry chain is to buy Londis and Budgens in a £40 million deal to boost its scale amid the ongoing supermarket price war.

Booker, which operates more than 172 wholesale outlets and supplies over 129,000 independent retailers, is to buy the supermarket brands in the UK from Irish food wholesaler Musgrave Group.

Booker said the deal will upgrade the efficiency of the two brands’ supply chains, amid changes in the grocery industry which have seen intense price cutting due to the growth of discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Londis operates 1,630 convenience stores, and made sales in the year to December of £504 million. Budgens is a franchised chain of grocery stores, with 167 outlets that racked up sales of £329 million last year.

Musgrave Retail Partners GB Limited, the unit that held the brands for parent firm Musgrave, posted sales of £833 million in the year to December, and made an operating loss before exceptional items of £7.4 million.

Booker said the Londis and Budgens brand names will remain, and will sit alongside its own retail brands, Premier and Family Shopper.

Booker chief executive Charles Wilson said: “Booker, Londis and Budgens are joining forces to help independent retailers prosper throughout Great Britain.

“This transaction should strengthen Londis, Budgens, Premier, Family Shopper and other Booker retailers, through improving choice, prices and service to consumers. Overall it will help independent retailers prosper.”

Booker said completion of the deal is conditional on the approval of the Competition and Markets Authority.

It added that it expects the acquisition will be earnings neutral in the first complete year of ownership and earnings enhancing after that.

The move comes as Booker announced its full-year results.

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