Bestway has accused Booker of a 'charm offensive' in relation to its proposed deal with Tesco.

In a survey of more than 2,500 retailers conducted by Booker's biggest competitor, 11% stated that they were in favour of the merger. According to Bestway, 62% of participants were Booker symbol customers.

Seventy-two per cent of retailers said they were not sure the deal would benefit the independent trade, with 17% saying the tie-up was ‘not good news’.

Martin Race, managing director of Bestway Wholesale, said for retailers, there appears to be too many uncertainties and contradictions coming out of Tesco and Booker.

“I believe Tesco is only interested in Tesco and will use the data it will obtain from Booker to earmark future Tesco Express and One Stop stores,” he added.

“Any potential savings will be retained rather than passed on to retailers similar to what happened at the acquisition of One Stop, where prices were found to be higher in One Stop stores than they were in Tesco Express.”