Allied-Lyons buys Augustus Barnett chain: Acquisition for pounds 40m poses new challenge to supermarkets in battle for off-licence trade

ALLIED-LYONS, the drinks, food and retailing group, yesterday stepped up its efforts to become a leading force in the off-licence market with the acquisition of the Augustus Barnett chain from Bass, the brewing company, for pounds 40m.

The deal, which has been expected for some time, will add 550 shops to Allied's existing chain of about 960 Victoria Wine outlets. That will boost its share of the take-home drinks market to about 9 per cent, similar to Tesco and J Sainsbury, the supermarket groups. And it puts them just behind Whitbread's Thresher chain, which increased its share to about 10 per cent with the purchase of Peter Dominic from Grand Metropolitan two years ago.

Malcolm Wright, corporate and finance director of Allied-Lyons, said: 'The deal gives us the Augustus Barnett chain, which was the only really large chain left on the marketplace. It puts us on to parity with Threshers, and geographically it is a good fit.' He added that the increase in the size of the chain would help it to compete with the big supermarket groups.

The purchase will, however, mean the loss of about 130 jobs from the Augustus Barnett headquarters in Burton-on-Trent, which will close as administration is transferred to Victoria Wine's headquarters in Woking. Mr Wright said as many staff as possible would be offered alternative posts.

He added that there was little overlap between the two chains, so there should be few shop closures. Both have outlets across the country, but Victoria Wine is stronger in the South while Augustus Barnett is one of the leading off-licences in the North-west and Scotland.

Allied is still considering whether to convert the new shops to the Victoria Wine name. 'We are thinking that there could be a role for the Augustus Barnett name in segmented areas,' Mr Wright said.

Neither Bass nor Allied-Lyons would give details of Augustus Barnett's performance, although Bass said it was profitable. A spokesman added that the sale would enhance its earnings in the current year. There will, however, be a small loss on the disposal because of goodwill previously written off.

Sales at Victoria Wine grew 6 per cent last year and Allied is confident that it can boost Augustus Barnett's business by improving marketing. 'It has not achieved the throughputs we have achieved, and it concentrates more on beers while Victoria Wine is more broadly spread,' Mr Wright said. Bass will continue to supply its beers to both chains.

Sales through off-licences are among the fastest-growing in the drinks industry and account for 20 per cent of beer sales, compared with 10 per cent 10 years ago. More than half of purchases are made through the supermarket chains, which have been expanding both the range and the amount of space devoted to alcohol in recent years.

Allied-Lyons is keen to expand its chain further, both through organic growth and by acquisition.

Allied's shares rose 2p to 577p while Bass's closed down 2p at 403p.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
News
Valerie Trierweiler’s book paints Hollande as a cold-hearted hypocrite
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
filmsMockingjay Part 1 taking hit franchise to new levels
News
Bill Cosby
peopleActor has firmly defended himself against all claims
Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene in Far From The Madding Crowd
filmsAlso much to look forward to for Thomas Hardy fans
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Argyll Scott International: Business Analyst - MGA - London Market - Insurance Broker

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Argyll Scott International: A Business A...

Ashdown Group: PR, Marketing & Events Executive - Southwark, London - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: PR Marketing & Events Exe...

Selby Jennings: C++ Developer – Hedge Fund – New York

$80000 - $110000 per annum, Benefits: Bonus and Employee Investment Scheme: Se...

Selby Jennings: Java Developer Enterprise Specialist –Paris,France

€30000 - €50000 per annum, Benefits: Competitive Bonus: Selby Jennings: Java D...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible