Is the Costcutter symbol chain up for sale?

31 August 2017

Costcutter, the symbol group operator which counts several hundred subpostmasters among its membership, has become the latest retailer to explore a deal with other operators, it emerged last week.

Sir Michael Bibby, manager director of Costcutter’s owner, the Bibby Line Group, has written to retailers and told them that “there are exciting opportunities on the table right now. I hope and expect to be able to make a formal announcement soon”.

Bibby said the proposed link-up between Tesco and Booker “took the market by surprise and since then businesses across the grocery and convenience sectors have been open to having discussions that would not have seemed imaginable just one year ago”.

A spokesperson for Costcutter, which has 2,200 retail members, said: “As we have informed our retailers, we are active in the market to explore all available opportunities. We will update our retailers when there is news to share.”

The news comes following a turbulent few months for the retail industry. Sainsbury’s was until recently in exclusive talks with Nisa about a projected £130m takeover. Sainsbury’s decided not to pursue the deal until the results of the review into the Tesco/Booker takeover by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are known.  In the meantime, the Co-op is said to be back in contention for a tie-up with Nisa, according to industry sources.