The Co-op is close to making a swoop for the wholesaler and c-store chain, according to Nisa chairman Peter Hartle. 

After grocery giant Tesco unveiled its proposed merger with Booker, its biggest rival Sainsbury’s responded by entering into exclusive takeover talks with Nisa.

But, supposedly amid competition concerns, Sainsbury’s hit pause on the negotiations.

So the Co-op has now muscled in on the act – hoping to take its own bite out of the increasingly dynamic wholesale and convenience market – and can enjoy a period of exclusivity in which to potentially make an offer.

According to retail analysts at Global Data, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is less likely to object, or take issue with, a deal between The Co-op and Nisa, as their combined market shares are lower than Sainsbury’s at 12%.

“A Co-op-Nisa partnership provides more benefits than a partnership with Sainsbury’s would have done due to complementary business models, supply chains, and customer requirements,” it added. 

Elsewhere today, John Browett has made a surprise exit from Dunelm after less than three years in the role. Here’s our take on Browett’s third exit in five years.

And WHSmith hailed a strong performance in its travel business in a pre-close update. 

Quote of the day

“In November we set out our plans to create a more sustainable, profitable and customer-centric international business for M&S by focusing on our established partnerships.

“With significant scale and retail expertise in the region, we are looking forward to discussing the potential extension of our partnership to Hong Kong and Macau as we continue to grow and develop our business together.”

– M&S international director Paul Friston commenting on the retailer’s move to enter into talks with franchise partner Al-Futtaim.

Today in numbers

The amount Apax Partners could pay for as the bidding war for the luxury retailer heats up

The amount fashion sales increased last week at John Lewis year on year

Tomorrow’s agenda

Look out for the latest GfK consumer confidence figures. 

Emily Hardy, senior reporter