Wholesale giants Landmark and Today’s Group are set to merge into a single company that will dwarf existing market leader Booker.

The two buying groups will join forces to create a single business called Unitas Wholesale, which will boast a turnover of £9 billion.

That will see it eclipse Booker, which has a turnover of £5.3 billion, and leave Unitas representing more than 200 depots across the UK.

The new business will begin trading in November, providing members from both groups vote to push the proposal through.

Darren Goldney, managing director of Today’s Group, said: “We believe that this consolidation is narrowing the options for suppliers and potentially threatening the future of independent businesses as multiple chains expand into the wholesale channel.

“This merger acts to ensure the sustainable and future success of our members, many of whom have a multi-generation legacy of service to independent businesses, be they convenience stores, catering outlets or many of the other businesses we serve.”

John Mills, managing director at Landmark Wholesale, added: “As member-owned organisations and in line with the principles of ‘every business matters, no matter how big or small’, the two groups will decide whether to progress with the proposed merger via a full membership vote process by September 6, 2018.

“Following this date, we will enter into a period of consultation and selection with the management and staff of both groups to create the structure to support Unitas Wholesale. We would expect the transaction to formally complete by November 2018.”

The new group would oversee 1,460 stores under its Today’s and Lifestyle Express fascias.