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Following a month of exclusive talks, the UK's largest consumer co-operative, the Co-op Group has launched its bid to acquire the member-owned retail and wholesale group Nisa. 

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Nisa, the leading buying consortium and distributor to the independent retail sector, has announced to its members that Co-op now intends to launch a bid to acquire the business 'as quickly as possible'. Press reports indicate the deal will value Nisa at £140m.

Entering period of exclusivity

Following the decision of Sainsbury's to step back from its plan to acquire Nisa, Co-op has become the leading candidate to purchase the business, and the last two weeks have seen ongoing positive discussions. Now, as of today (30 August), Nisa has granted Co-op a period of exclusive due diligence. If a bid is forthcoming, following due diligence, it will remain up to the membership (who are owners of the Nisa organisation) to vote on whether it is accepted. The 1,300 retailer members of Nisa each stand to take a share of the eventual purchase price.

Opportunities to share network

If the deal goes through, it will create opportunities for the two business to share and streamline their logistics networks and supply chain. It could also help Nisa’s independent retailers by improving choice, price and services, as well as potentially broadening supplier and own brand ranges.

Pragmatic and constructive conversations

In his letter to members Peter Hartley, Chairman, Nisa commented: “Key elements of the discussion remain ongoing, and while these are not yet resolved, the conversations with the Co-op have been pragmatic and constructive. As you are all aware our business and the convenience sector continue to evolve at pace, and the Board of Nisa will continue to review serious queries and offers which emerge and which its believes are in the best long-term interest of the members.”

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Leading neighbourhood and convenience retailer the Co-operative Group has announced it is to roll-out its initiative to recruit local food and drink suppliers to supply nearby stores throughout the UK.

Follows successful trial in Yorkshire

The launch of the national programme comes in the wake of a pilot scheme established in Yorkshire, running since 2015.  Currently the Co-op's 250 stores in Yorkshire are being supplied with more than 150 local lines, including eggs, milk, bread, ice cream, sweets, crisps, pickles, pies and sausages, as well as beers from 23 Yorkshire based breweries.

Aiming to double its number of local suppliers

The next stage in the progressive roll-out of this trial will see locally sourced products launched into Co-op stores across Lancashire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Devon, Wales and Avon & Somerset.

Charlotte Bleasdale, Ranging Manager for the Co-op in Yorkshire commented:

"Our approach sets out clear principles to foster closer relationships and support for local suppliers; we want these businesses to thrive and so we do not seek exclusivity for instance.  It is the innovation, traditions, quality and the passion of the producers which makes for prized local products."

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