Wholesaler Venus called the collapse of Waverley TBS a huge opportunity for smaller merchants after picking up extra business amid the wreckage.

Administrators handling the collapse the giant wholesaler announced 685 staff have been made redundant this week after it failed to secure a buyer.

Venus chairman Laki Christoforou expressed his sympathy for those involved and acknowledged it was bad for the industry.

But he added: “It’s been good for Venus – the phones haven’t stopped ringing.

“Waverley had 10,000 customers so that’s 10,000 people without suppliers today.

“We are in a fortunate position to have the infrastructure, the manpower and the stock to act quickly to supply any customers that have fallen foul of the current situation.”

Venus, which employs 300 staff, announced profits of £2.4 million over the past year, which represents 14% growth.

Christoforou said: “I believe the collapse represents an opportunity for people like me up and down the country.

“As a business we are growing and we have constantly been investing in infrastructure.

“Last year we moved to new 185,000 square feet premises and we have invested in vehicles and personnel, so the business is in a healthy state and we are more than happy to step in and supply people.”