Press release

Shaw & Co Launches Wholesale & Retail Trade Sector Report

Shaw & Co launches its latest in-depth ‘Shaw Report’ which takes an annual view of debt and M&A activity in the Wholesale and Retail Trade industry.

3 minutes
Karl Blockwell

Shaw & Co, the specialist corporate finance advisory firm, has launched the latest of its in-depth industry reports that offer SME business leaders a powerful overview and benchmarking tool to aid their decision making.

"Our aim is to provide small business leaders with free access to the same market intelligence as larger blue-chip corporates."
Rick Martignetti
Report author

This latest report covers the Wholesale and Retail Trade (W&RT) industry and segments 1,935 W&RT businesses with earnings of over £1m by size and subsector – retail, wholesale, and agents – to track their performance, profitability, debt levels, borrowing capacity and M&A activity.

The report’s key findings include:


Just 4% of the 1,935 companies reviewed account for 91% of total turnover in the Wholesale & Retail Trade industry. The industry is dominated by a small number of large companies, and barriers to entry exist for companies to compete against larger established companies.


Regardless of size, companies across all industry subsectors have seen an increase in average Ebitda margins over the last 12 months which vary between 11% to 14%. The industry has been supported through the pandemic by consumers switching to online sales and by government furlough schemes.


Smaller businesses have been deleveraging their government assisted loans, such as CBILS, being quickly repaid following the initial free year. However, larger businesses have kept their CLBILS in reserve. Overall, debt to Ebitda levels have fallen year-on-year, giving businesses the scope to borrow to fund growth.

Mergers & Acquisitions:

Deal activity was buoyant in the WR&T industry in the first nine months of last year, partly because of the expansion of e-commerce following the pandemic. A number of headwinds – rising inflation and the worsening geopolitical situation – led to a much reduced deal flow in the final three months of our covered period.

Rick Martignetti, Manager - Business Funding at Shaw & Co, and editor of the report, said: “We are delighted to have launched our latest sector report, comprising an in-depth analysis of the Wholesale & Retail Trade industry. We hope the report will help SME business benchmark their own and their peers’ performance in the sector and aid their decision-making processes. Our aim is to provide small business leaders with free access to the same market intelligence as larger blue-chip corporates, who benefit from investment banking advisors. The report will also provide SMEs with valuable insight in terms of their relative creditworthiness and attractiveness from an M&A point of view.”

A full copy of the report is available here:

Karl Blockwell
Communications Manager
Karl Blockwell
's bio

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