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    Booker fires back on allegations, asserts dedication towards local stores

    (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

    Wholesaler Booker has denied the allegations raised by some local retailers of “squeezing” them out of business by stating that it is aimed to give better choice, price and service to all the retailers and has been investing to further support retail businesses.

    A Booker spokesperson told Asian Trader, “Booker is very proud to serve thousands of local retailers and everything we do is aimed to give better choice, price and service to our retailers so that they can better serve their customers.

    The spokesperson added that last year, Booker reviewed its range across all branded and own-brand products to ensure it has the right offer and in response to feedback that customers want more consistency across branches.

    “As part of that review, we removed products that customers weren’t choosing to make more space for products that really matter. Overall feedback has been positive and we’ve already seen improvements in availability. We will always listen to our customers and would welcome any feedback on improving the range we have,” stated the spokesperson.

    Addressing the claims on deliveries, Booker asserted that it has not reduced the delivery frequency.

    “While we have always had a minimum end on orders, we are very open to working with any retailer who might not be able to meet the minimum order requirements. By opening a new Distribution Centre in Fareham, we will be able to increase our delivery capacity over the coming years and we remain absolutely committed to serving community shops across the UK either through branch or delivery,” the spokesperson told Asian Trader.

    “Our retail business is extremely important to us, and by opening our new Fareham DC, we’re investing in growing its capacity. Our product range is very carefully curated to meet the needs of customers and is based on feedback from retailers, listening groups as well as data analysis on customer trends.

    “We continue to focus on improving choice, price and service for all the retailers, through own label, branded products, and an increase in choice on fresh and frozen products with over 100 new products available. We try to make sure we’re covering all customers’ needs, with a Good, Better and Best approach for shoppers, as well as different pack sizes to help retailers.

    “When we completed our range review, we deliberately protected all local and regional lines. We introduced our Jack’s range a few years ago and while this range has grown over the years, it has not been at the expense of branded products.

    Any store that has previously been able to get a delivery should still be able to get one. Both Booker and Booker Retail Partners (BRP) regularly review their delivery schedules for all their retail customers to allow the opportunity to flex up or down customer deliveries based on individual customer demand.

    The Booker spokesperson told Asian Trader that the wholesaler works closely with the Plunkett Foundation, a charity supporting rural businesses, to help us listen to any feedback from rural communities and welcome further engagement. 

    In reference to the claims raised earlier by a publication, the spokesperson stated that it is looking into the concerns to see “if there’s anything further we can do to support these customers.”

    “By opening a new Distribution Centre in Fareham, this will not only increase capacity over the coming years but for the first time it will create the opportunity for shared delivered network allowing Premier, Londis, Budgens, Shop Local and national account customers to be delivered from a shared delivered hub.

    “Booker has removed duplication and reduced space given to declining categories and increase space to categories in growth ensuring we offer a convenience range that covers all need states, having great breadth and depth covering a Good, Better and Best approach for shoppers,” the spokesperson concluded.

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