|Convenience store/Petrol station|
Mace is a convenience store symbol group operating as three separate entities with different ownership in Great Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland. The stores are independently owned and join the groups, paying a fee for marketing and branding support and purchasing their stock from the brand owners.
The Mace brand has had several owners in its history in Great Britain. Palmer and Harvey acquired the entire rights to Mace throughout Great Britain in 2005, finally unifying the brand under one owner. This stability has allowed the brand to recover from defections by retailers caused by frequent disruptive changes of ownership of the brand in the past.
In May 2005, P&H acquired the franchise for Mace in Scotland from Somerfield, previously operated by Aberness Foods until March 2004. Because the brand had three owners in such a short space of time, Mace retailers had experienced considerable disruption. Since the Somerfield takeover Mace "had been haemorrhaging independent retailers to other symbols since it bought Mace from Aberness". 25 stores defected to Spar during the takeover by P&H from Somerfield.
In 1999, P&H acquired Booker Wholesale Foods from Booker plc, giving P&H control of the Mace symbol group in England and Wales. A large number of retailers were unhappy with the change and 80 stores left soon after the takeover. Initially they were unable to satisfy customer expectations with one stating "I don't think they're geared up to serve our type of trade. They're more used to being 'a supplier', rather than 'the supplier'."
In Northern Ireland the brand is owned by Musgrave Retail Partners. They bought the brand when they purchased JJ Haslett in 2007. JJ Haslett had been an independent wholesaler since an MBO from BWG Foods in 2003.
Mace has traded in Ireland since 1960 and is Ireland's oldest franchise convenience store. In the beginning there were over a dozen wholesalers operating the brand.
Mace in Ireland is now owned entirely by BWG Foods. Previously the rights to the brands have been split with Mangans Wholesale and Vantage Holdings owning certain regional rights. In 2000 BWG bought the Mace rights belonging to Vantage Holdings and in 2008 BWG Bought out the entire Mangans Group. These purchases finally consolidated the brand in Ireland under one owner. In the Republic, BWG services about 240 stores across it Supermarket, Foodstore and Forecourt formats. BWG also owns the Spar and XL brands in Ireland.
In Ireland, north and south, the Mace stores offer a more advanced range of in-store services than their counterparts in Britain. Almost all stores offer hot food "to go" and hot "bean to cup" beverages. The stores are also typically larger, with smaller stores in Northern Ireland branded Mace Express. Stores of this size in the Republic would be branded XL rather than Mace.
- "Mace empire is carved up". Thegrocer.co.uk. 2 July 2005. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "The Times : Business". Business.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2015. (subscription required)
- "P&H McLane vindicated over Mace buy. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "Musgrave buys J&J Haslett". Wholesale News. 9 July 2007. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "Business | The Times". Business.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "BWG Foods' dual purchase". Independent.ie. 21 July 2000. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "BWG confirms €40m cash-and-carry buy". Independent.ie. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "Convenience brand Mace is planning to open 100 new stores". Independent.ie. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "The French connection…". Ulster Grocer. 8 October 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2013.