Today’s boss favours Landmark alliance

The Today’s Group has not closed the door on some kind of alliance with fellow buying group Landmark Wholesale despite adding a pound;1bn turnover company to its membership.

At the beginning of the month Makro Cash Carry announced it had joined Today’s, adding its substantial financial muscle to the Today’s overrider negotiations with suppliers.

After announcing the deal, Today’s managing director Rodney Hunt said: “They are a very good fit. They have a substantial cash and carry operation and we have a substantial cash and carry membership. They have a cash and carry turnover of about pound;1bn and we have a turnover of about pound;5.5bn.”

He acknowledged that Makro would dwarf any other company within the group, but said otherwise they would be just like any other member. He added: “We are looking to discuss the new membership situation with suppliers. Some have already contacted us to say they welcome the move.”

As part of the multinational Metro Group, some parts of Makro’s buying, for instance wine, is carried out by overseas parts of the business with particular expertise in that area. Hunt explained: “We will be working with them where they source and negotiate in the UK. There will be no overseas involvement.”

The new deal is not the first time Makro has joined a buying group. In 1997 it set up Group Trading Alliance with Spar and Landmark, but left at the end of 2001 after it was taken over by Metro, claiming its new status was no longer compatible with membership.

Hunt said there was a considerable difference between membership of GTA, which had a separate office set up to negotiate additional overrider payments from suppliers, and the Today’s operation which would not require any new staff.

Looking to the future, Hunt said he expected there would be further consolidation in the wholesale sector, and there was nothing to stop Today’s opening talks with Landmark.

He said: “I would be looking for a shared belief in democracy and transparency.”

However he added: “I would prefer to talk about an alliance rather than a merger. We both have members in most major cities and we would need to still have a different offer. If we merged that would be lost. Savings can be made in areas such as human resources and product costs in an alliance.”

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