TM Retail could be sold as competition hots up

TM Retail, the c-store and CTN group, is understood to be up for sale with a price tag of around£200 million.

The retailer, which has more than 1,200 shops and has been converting larger CTN outlets into convenience stores, has appointed Goldman Sachs to review options.

Goldman Sachs managing director of investment banking Richard Campbell-Breeden said: 'We have been hired on the back of Tesco buying T&S and the Co-op buying Alldays to explore what that meant for the company.'

He would not confirm that a sale is on the cards, but other c-store chiefs - including Costcutter managing director Colin Graves - have heard that TM is looking for a buyer.

Graves said the ballpark figure being talked about is£200 million.

TM's fascias include McColl, RS McColl, Martin and Forbuoys. In November 2001, TM opened its first shop under the More fascia, billed as a mini-variety store.

Co-op Group's takeover of 637-strong Alldays and Tesco's deal to buy T&S Stores signalled increasing competition for convenience shoppers.

Some analysts suggested TM Retail could be a buyer for the 150 Dillons and Supercigs stores, which Tesco is trying to offload from the T&S portfolio.

ING food retail analyst John Kershaw said: 'TM Retail will be trying to do things behind the scenes. The whole landscape has changed for them.'

TM made an operating profit of£26.5 million on sales of£705.9 million in 2000/01.