New MD for Matthew Clark

Conviviality, the leading off licence and convenience store chain, has appointed Mark Aylwin as managing director of Matthew Clark.

He will replace Steve Thomson, who after 10 years as Matthew Clark CEO, is to step down to pursue other interests. Aylwin will take up his position in January.

Clark commercial director Ian Smith will become the company’s deputy managing director, with immediate effect, to support Aylwin.

Aylwin has been in the food and drinks industry for more than 35 years and has worked in senior positions with a range of organisations including Booker, Blueheath, Safeway and Musgrave.

Aylwin spent eight years at Booker, most recently as managing director of Booker Retail Partners (formerly Musgrave Retail Partners) where he had responsibility for Budgens and Londis.

Prior to that he was the MD of Booker Direct, the delivered wholesale business of Booker. Aylwin was also on Booker group’s board.

Conviviality CEO Diana Hunter said: “I am delighted to appoint Mark as managing director of our Matthew Clark business. He has a wealth of experience in food and drink wholesale and is ideally placed to develop the Matthew Clark business with our customers and suppliers.

“I am pleased with the progress we have made since the acquisition and the integration is ahead of plan. The key hires required to deliver our synergies are in place ahead of plan and all the teams in both businesses are working well together.”

Hunter thanked Thomson for his contribution to Matthew Clark.

“Over the past 10 years Steve has led the business, and has presided over a period of significant growth,” she said.

“Steve was integral throughout the recent acquisition process while also ensuring that customers continued to receive the high level of service that they had come to expect from Matthew Clark.

“I am delighted that Steve will continue to work with our business on a consultancy basis for a period of time on a number of key projects and wish him well for the future.”

The company has followed the acquisition of Matthew Clark by buying a majority stake in the London-based bar and events company Peppermint last month.

Conviviality, which operates the Bargain Booze and Wine Rack retail franchise, reported a 4.4% rise in revenues – excluding any contribution from Matthew Cark – in the half-year to November 1. Bargain Booze store sales dropped 1.3% but Wine Rack sales were ahead by 5.3%, the company says.