Spar’s biggest supplier AF Blakemore is selling its wholesale division following a strategic review of the business.

The company said it had taken the decision to offload its 12 cash and carry sites, which operate under the Blakemore Wholesale division, as going concerns.

AF Blakemore insisted the move away from the cash and carry sector would allow it to “invest further” in its wider business and “focus its future strategy” on its remaining divisions.

Specifically, it said it plans to “drive innovation” within its retail and wholesale distribution division, which serves vending operators and retailers, including Spar.

The sale of the 12 cash and carry depots will impact 520 colleagues across the sites.

Last summer, it was reported that AF Blakemore was considering a sale of its wholesale arm after drafting in KPMG to advise.

Bestway, the UK’s fifth largest wholesaler, was linked to a £100m swoop for the business.

AF Blakemore generated sales of £1.3bn last year but pre-tax profits were only £7.6m, highlighting the low margins of wholesaling.

The company’s retail division, Blakemore Retail, owns 290 branches of Spar across the UK, while its wholesale arm supplies more than 1,000 Spar stores.