After the second world war Trebor bought up tens of local distributors to create Moffat – a national wholesaling group.
John Burnett Collins, known to most as J.B., was born in 1915 and worked as a stockbroker prior to the Second World War, where he served under colonel Denis Hedley, son-
Unsure about the offer as he knew nothing about confectionery, J.B. went to Manchester to take a look. On arrival he found some local lads booting a ball against the factory wall, and when he told them tersely to ‘Hop it’ one small boy equally tersely told him to ‘xxxx off.’ This cheeky response both amused and intrigued him, for he realised he would be back once again with the kind of men he knew well from the army, but this time he would be building his own business. So, with the firm’s backing, he took over the company in 1950 and set about building Moffat into one of the country’s major confectionery wholesalers.
A secret acquisition
This takeover was central to Sydney Marks’ post-
At that stage, Marks did not feel Trebor could reveal it had a captive wholesaler. Traditionally wholesalers were independent, stocking products from competing manufacturers – as did Moffat – and people would assume (albeit correctly) that Trebor products got preference over their rivals in what should have been a level playing field. But while Trebor’s own sales teams covered many territories, they could never achieve the depth of a wholesaler stocking not only confectionery but also tobacco and other products. So Trebor’s sales figures benefitted hugely from Moffat’s sales – and the link remained secret.
J.B. Collins was persuaded by Sydney Marks to take over Moffat in 1950. He went on to turn it into one of the country’s major confectionery wholesalers.
Moffat was also known as the M Group – blessed with this faintly sinister logo, more redolent of a spy network than a wholesale chain.