As Sir Anwar Pervez emerges as the frontrunner to buy the Co-op’s pharmacy business for about £600m, Retail Week takes a look at the wholesale tycoon.

  • Born in Pakistan, Pervez moved to Bradford when he was 21 and worked as a trolleybus driver.
  • In 1963, he opened his first convenience store, Kashmir, in London Earl’s Court. By the 1970s, Pervez was managing 10 convenience stores across west London.
  • When he was running the stores, Pervez decided to stay open late seven days a week in a bid to serve his customers any time they wanted. “I think I was the first one open late and seven days a week although it was illegal in those days, but I did it,” Sir Anwar said in a profile piece in Blue Chip magazine last year. “I have been fined a few times as well. The sad thing is, I remember I used to go to the court and they would say, ‘you are guilty’ and I would say that yes, I am guilty and they would fine me £5 or £10. Now everybody is doing the same thing and when I look back, what was I guilty of doing? Hard work.”
  • In 1976, he moved into the cash and carry business with the launch of a depot in Acton.
  • He is chairman of Bestway Group, which operates 62 Bestway and Batleys wholesale branches across the UK. The group also offers own-label products under the Best-in, Buddies, White Pearl and Batleys Catering brands.
  • Bestway Group employs more than 25,700 people worldwide and reported sales of £2.5bn this year.
  • Pervez is chairman of the board of trustees of Bestway Foundation UK, the philanthropic and charitable arm of Bestway, which donates 2.5% of its pre-tax profits to worthy causes in both the UK and South Asia every year. He is also chairman of United Bank Limited, a private bank in Pakistan.
  • In 1992, he was recognised with an OBE. Earlier this year he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asian Business Awards.
  • He received his knighthood in 1999.