Tesco chief exec Dave Lewis has refused to say when or how the supermarket intends to give Booker retailers better access to its own-label range, when challenged by betterRetailing.

During an update about the supermarket’s latest financial results, betterRetailing asked Tesco UK’s Dave Lewis when Booker retailers would receive an own-label range to compete with those of Co-op and Nisa.

Booker retailers were promised they would get 30 rebranded Tesco-own label products by the end of July 2018, but the move has still not been confirmed by the supermarket.

Lewis responded: “We’ve focused on logistics and the service aspect. There are still a lot of product opportunities, that’s for sure, and I think we’ll announce those as and when they’re ready.

“We’re not in place to give times and dates, but we’ve got many things we think we can do to improve the offer to retail customers as we go through the next stage of the merger.”

Tesco services now being offered by Booker

Lewis had previously been unable to give dates about Tesco own-label in Booker stores when asked by betterRetailing during another trading update a year ago.

In the latest update for the 13 weeks ending 23 November, Booker sales excluding tobacco grew annually by 3.8%. Sales including tobacco rose annually by 3.4% in the same period.

When asked what contributed to the growth, Lewis said: “What we’ve done in terms of value and choice has been appreciated.

“We’re using Tesco facilities to improve customer service and we’ve focused on the customer, value, choice and service. We continue to drive that, even though the market has been challenging.”

Lewis added Tesco has also been in discussions with Booker symbol groups about the support provided by the supermarket.

He said: “We’ve shown to symbol operators an enhancement of value. We went to each of the symbol operators and shared what our investment was.”

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