Booker Retail Partners (BRP) is to help its symbol retailers combat rising energy bills with a new upcoming service.
The company will launch an ‘energy buying club’ with the intention of negotiating better utility contracts for its symbol retailers.
Several BRP retailers told betterRetailing that the energy club is to be launched in the first three months of next year, in partnership with utility comp-any Saffron Business Solutions (SBS).
The wholesaler has worked with SBS on finding utility contracts for its retailers for more than 15 years.
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Available to Budgens, Londis, Family Shopper and Premier retailers, the club will use the collective buying power of Booker’s retailers to negotiate better electricity deals with suppliers.
Describing the upcoming energy club on its website, SBS said: “Buying as a group as part of BRP rather than individual businesses means we can potentially leverage improved terms for our customers. The new ‘Booker Energy Buying Club’ will enable Saffron Business Solutions to negotiate on your behalf and give you a fantastic opportunity to secure better terms on your energy bills.”
Soaring energy costs are forcing retailers to make cuts across their businesses, with many unsure of their survival over the next year if further government support isn’t provided.
The upcoming scheme was praised by one BRP retailer, who said: “Energy bills are a major issue for retailers right now as they’re our biggest cost and they continue to increase. It’s really good Booker is acting proactively to support us in a difficult period.”
The support comes as the ACS has urged the government to extend the Energy Bill Relief Scheme beyond the current end date of March 2023.
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The trade body has asked retailers to write to their MPs and highlight the impact of rising electricity prices on their businesses.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores provide secure local jobs, act as social and community hubs, have a positive impact on the areas they trade in, and, in rural areas especially, are often the only places where a range of essential goods and services are provided for miles around.
“Many customers pay their energy bills in local shops, so keeping these essential services available locally is especially important now. This sector is adaptable and resilient, but without additional support from April next year, most crucially on energy bills, thousands of retailers will be forced into difficult decisions. We anticipate that stores would close and communities suffer as a result.”
Booker has been approached by betterRetailing for comment.
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