Bibby has bought 68 shops from administrator Ernst & Young in a move it said would safeguard hundreds of jobs – and promised ambitious growth plans for the chain, including expanding its wholesale business and converting some shops to convenience stores.
Nick Ivel, director of Bibby Retail Services and chief executive of Costcutter Supermarkets Group, said: “Rhythm & Booze is a very well-respected business and one that we have long admired. Under the stewardship of Bibby Retail Services we are confident that we can quickly re-establish its prominence and implement a robust business strategy that will lead to longer-term growth and expansion. We are committed to expanding our portfolio of company-owned stores and this is an important deal that adds a significant number of new sites to the group.”
Managing director Martin Swaine will keep his current position in the new company, and 425 other members of staff will transfer to the new business.
Ivel added: “I am delighted that Martin is remaining with the business. He is hugely respected within Rhythm & Booze and the industry as a whole. His knowledge and skills will be invaluable, allowing for a smooth and quick integration into Bibby Retail Services.
“This deal has secured 425 jobs and also ensures that the Rhythm & Booze brand survives, which is excellent news for suppliers and customers. We see huge potential for growth in this business, through the stabilisation of the current retail offer and via the expansion of the wholesale division, which we will achieve through continuing to work in partnership with our many valued suppliers.”
Swaine, who founded Rhythm & Booze with his father Ronnie in 1993, said: “I am delighted that Bibby Retail Services has purchased the business and that the future of the brand and that of my loyal staff has been secured. Bibby Retail Services are committed to giving the business the support needed to revive its fortunes and I will be working closely with the new owners to ensure an effective integration of the business and to drive it forward into the future.”
Rhythm & Booze has shops across Humberside, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire, and was named OLN’s specialist drinks chain of the year at the Drinks Retailing Awards in February.
Before they set up Rhythm & Booze, Ronnie and Martin Swaine were early members of Costcutter.