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    Booker dismisses allegation of undercutting independent retailers

    Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

    Wholesale Booker has once again slammed recent fresh allegations that Tesco is consistently undercutting independent retailers by selling products for less in its stores than via its wholesale business.

    Responding to the recent claims, a Booker spokesperson told Asian Trader, “We work very hard to offer our retail customers the best choice, price and service. Our price position versus the wholesale market is extremely competitive and in the last year, we have welcomed 354 net new retail partners, with retail customer satisfaction up 6 per cent to 82 per cent.

    “The balance we try to strike is making sure we have the keenest prices, the best availability and the right range, allowing our retailers to grow their businesses and gain sales on leading market trends.

    “We continue to invest in our retail business to serve our retailers better. We reached record levels of availability in the second half of the year and the work we have done on our Fareham DC will enable us to unlock more choice for customers.”

    Wholesale Booker benchmarks price in light of other wholesalers in the market and continues to be extremely competitive. Booker added that it has increased the number of promotions in its Cash & Carry depots.

    Tesco reportedly has no input into Booker’s pricing strategy. Since joining forces with Tesco, Booker has been able to offer retailers exclusives and first to market products to retailers as well as better availability. 

    The allegations, raised on Monday (22) by The Guardian, once again stoke concerns about the power of the UK’s biggest supermarket chain. The report cited local independent retailers to claim that “Tesco have cheaper prices and more stock than Booker branches”. 

    According to the report, independent shopkeepers who are clients of Booker claim that out of a list of 50 items stocked by the UK’s biggest wholesaler – compiled from retailer invoices and online order screenshots – about a quarter are cheaper on Tesco’s shelves. That includes five items on offer via the supermarket’s Clubcard Prices loyalty discount scheme.

    Many other items were sold with prices printed on their labels that ensured that they would be sold for more in the independent shops than in Tesco’s stores.

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