Could Nisa be sold? Speculation rife as shareholder investment understood to be sought

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 12 Jun 2017

COULD Scunthorpe grocery wholesaler Nisa change hands? 

Speculation is rife across the City with Sky News reporting how bankers at Lazard have been drafted in by the board to examine the potential to bring in outside shareholders to the business, which trades across about 3,500 UK stores.

Respected retail trade news outlets and the Daily Telegraph are also reporting potential moves afoot. The Waldo Way team has declined to comment on the speculation about any potential ownership changses when contacted.

‚ÄčNisa Retail has enjoyed a strong turnaround under chief executive Nick Read, pictured, who came in to ‘professionalise’ the mutual organisation back in early 2015.

He has completed more than two years at the helm of the Normanby Enterprise Park business, which is now in its 40th year.

From losing £3 million he brought a surplus of £7.3 million forward last year, and is eyeing up £10 million next year, from sales of between £1.5 billion to £1.55 billion.

In an interview with Humberbusiness.com in January, Mr Read said: “The business has the potential by the end of next year to be bigger than it ever has been, and by the end of the following year, with higher profitability, too.”

Since then Tesco has put forward a proposal to takeover rival Booker, with Sainsbury’s also understood to be interested in Palmer and Harvey.

Convenience has been king of the retail growth world of late, and the major multiples are keen to ensure they stay on top. 

Nisa, ‘Northern Independent Supermarkets Association,’ is member-owned, and has come a long way since it was established by Grimsby’s second generation retail entrepreneur Dudley Ramsden and Yorskshire businessman Peter Garvin in a Bawtry hotel bar back in 1977. 

It now has Nisa-branded stores, as well as those operated under the owners' identity, and has even ventured into television advertising to win market share. It has been far from plain sailing though, with a divorce from Today's and the loss of a major store distribution contract with Costcutter among recent challenges.

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