Palmer & Harvey has announced that it has teamed up with fellow wholesaler Makro to form a new buying co-operation called PalMak. According to P&H, the new co-op is designed to offer independent retailers access to scale

benefits usually only enjoyed by multiples.

In a statement, the companies said: "The aim of the partnership is to negotiate terms of trade across a broad portfolio of products providing manufacturers with the opportunity to maximise sales to tens of thousands of independent retailers and food service customers.

"PalMak will consist of a team of category specialists drawn from both companies to negotiate the best possible terms for their respective customers. It is designed to give independent retailers and catering outlets access to scale benefits currently only enjoyed by key multiple groups in order to help them compete in a continuously challenging retail environment."

PalMak follows the companies receiving approval from the Office of Fair Trading and will start operating with immediate effect.

P&H managing director commercial Peter Austen added: "This is an exciting opportunity which will offer significant benefits to everyone involved. P&H and Makro have many suppliers in common and the new buying group will allow us to develop existing relationships, increase volumes traded and improve efficiencies. This move underlines our commitment to ensuring we negotiate the best possible prices for our respective customers."