Insight Flash: CE transaction data explores UK-based retailer B&M’s acquisition of competitor Wilko

Following Wilko’s fall into administration, B&M, a UK-based discount retailer, announced on 5 September that it would acquire 51 former Wilko stores. But does this make strategic sense? Cross-shop data from Consumer Edge, which can be helpful when seeking to understand which companies are likely to benefit most in the event of a competitor bankruptcy, would appear to suggest so.

B&M and Wilko Cross-Shopping

The chart below depicts the percentage of B&M shoppers cross-shopping at Wilko, making it evident that a sizeable portion (~15%) of B&M shoppers find Wilko’s value-focused proposition and locations appealing. What’s notable is that the percentage of B&M shoppers cross-shopping at Wilko has exhibited a steady decline in recent years, perhaps because of Wilko’s lack of focus on the store experience post-Covid. Data from CE also suggests that almost 1 in 3 Wilko shoppers cross-shopped at B&M.

This relatively high cross-shop percentage is in spite of the fact that the retailers operate in different parts of the UK. B&M tends to operate in the north, while Wilko has more exposure to the south.

Wilko and B&M Regional Delta by UK Geography

Figure 2 shows the regional delta between Wilko and B&M’s spend as a percentage of total spend. Wilko spend as a percentage of total is 7ppt higher than B&M in London, 5ppt higher in South East England and 5ppt higher in the East Midlands. The difference is down to the geographic exposure of the two retailers. If the 51 newly acquired stores are in southern parts of the UK, could this prove fruitful?

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About the Authors

Michael Gunther is the VP Head of Insights for the CEIC. Explore more of his insights here and follow him on LinkedIn.

Ruhell Amin is a Senior Insights Analyst for the CEIC. Explore more of his insights here and follow him on LinkedIn.