Britain’s biggest chain of convenience stores, McColl’s, is to expand its footprint further by lining up a possible takeover of Tesco’s One Stop outlets.
Tesco is widely expected to be forced to offload the chain owing to competition concerns arising from its £3.7bn merger with wholesale retailer Booker, with the UK’s competition regulator thought unlikely to give its consent otherwise.
Tesco could also be forced to divest itself of hundreds of Express outlets to ease the path of its merger, music to the ears of McColls boss Jonathan Miller who has ambitious expansion ambitions for his convenience store empire.
Having just wrapped up the purchase of 300 Co-op stores Miller is targeting organic growth of 50 shops per year to add to its existing tally of 1,300 outlets – but any land grab of Tesco’s estate could turbo charge even these ambitious plans.
Commenting on his intentions Miller remarked: “Whether it’s One Stop or a number of stores we would be interested in having a look. One Stop is very similar to our own model, so we would be the most logical business to acquire it.”
Tesco and Booker are still holding out hope that they might emerge from the merger unscathed however, by pointing out that Booker does not own its 5,463 franchise convenience stores outright and thus there would be no dilution of competition.
Tesco and Booker have yet to formally file for a merger with the Competition and Markets Authority, with both still at the information gathering stage.