British wholesale distributor Entertainment UK (EUK) has struck a deal to supply all the music requirements to WHSmith U.K. Retail's (WHS) 545 U.K. stores.

British wholesale distributor Entertainment UK (EUK) has struck a deal to supply all the music requirements to WHSmith U.K. Retail's (WHS) 545 U.K. stores.

The two companies will work closely on product selection and inventory management. "Consolidating our supply chain will enable us to improve our in-store offer to customers, whilst also streamlining our distribution," says WHS business unit director for entertainment Steve Heald.

Hayes, Middlesex-based EUK will take over from individual suppliers during the month of August. Further details of the length and nature of the deal are not available.

WHS had a 4.7% share of the British albums market in retail value terms and 7.3% of the singles market during 2003, according to labels body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The WHS deal will mean that EUK-supplied companies potentially account for more than 28% of U.K. consumers' album expenditure, and 41% of singles spend, based on the BPI's 2003 marketshare figures.

EUK is a division of U.K. retail and entertainment conglomerate Woolworths Group plc. According to Woolworths' group annual report, EUK's total sales "exceeded £1 billion" ($1.85 billion) in the financial year ending ending Jan. 31 2004. EUK's other major retail clients in the United Kingdom include supermarket chains Tesco and Waitrose, electrical goods chain Comet and EUK's own sister companies Woolworths and MVC.

WHSmith's core sales are in magazine, stationery and book retailing. Its stores also stock music, computer games and DVD/video.