SandpiperCI to sell its Checkers and Safeway supermarkets to Waitrose

19 February 2011

SandpiperCI has announced that contracts have been exchanged for the sale of its five large supermarkets to Waitrose. The deal is subject, amongst other things, to the approval of the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority and is not expected to complete before 31st October 2010. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

The transaction will include the three Checkers supermarkets located at Redhouses and Rue des Pres in Jersey and Admiral Park in Guernsey, as well as each of the Safeway stores in Jersey and Guernsey. The stores will continue to be run by SandpiperCI until the end of January 2011 and will then be handed over to Waitrose over a period of about six weeks.

Waitrose then intends to refurbish and rebrand each of the stores under its own fascia in March / April 2011. The UK supermarket retailer intends to offer employment to all staff in the five stores. Sandpiper CEO, Tony O’Neill said: “The performance of our supermarkets over the last three years has been very encouraging, primarily as a result of our investment in upgrading the stores and the significant improvements to range and customer service. However, now is the time to hand them on to a larger operator which will allow us to both, focus on the development of our smaller stores and continue to build on our burgeoning franchise business. There is a high level of interest from several UK non-food brands in working with us to establish their offer locally. This will be good news for island residents who will see a widening of choice, driven by an increase in household names, which will complement the existing retail offering. We expect to make further announcements in due course.”

SandpiperCI will remain the leading independent retail operator in the Channel Islands and will continue to operate its 28 remaining food and drink stores under its own Checkers Express/Island Shopper and Wine Warehouse fascias. A selection of Waitrose own-label products will continue to be available in the food stores and the range will be broadened in 2011. To enable SandpiperCI’s customers to shop locally more often, there will be an upgrade programme supported by the acquisition of new forecourt and increased investment in the convenience stores where appropriate.

The existing SandpiperCI management team intends to grow its franchise businesses trading under the Marks and Spencer, Iceland, Costa Coffee, Robert Dyas, and Pasty Presto fascias. Discussions with potential new franchise brands continue to go well and new stores for Hotel Chocolat in both islands have already been announced. In addition to its retail activities, SandpiperCI will continue to operate Cimandis, the food service supplier together with its two hotels in Guernsey - St Pierre Park and La Trelade.

SandpiperCI were advised on the transaction by McQueen.

For further information please contact:
Tony O’Neill
CEO SandpiperCI
Tel: 01534 508 402

Glenn Rankine
Tel: 01534 601 801 / 07797 713 579

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