Bestway Wholesale has warned that retailers caught ‘profiteering’ on in-demand lines during the coronavirus outbreak face having their accounts blocked, credit withdrawn and being stripped of the right to trade under the Best-one fascia.

In a statement sent to customers, managing director Dawood Pervez praised the hard work of independent retailers in providing “a vital lifeline to local communities.”

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However, he also warned that stores raising prices on key lines was: “Very damaging for the reputation of to the industry at large.”

Bestway specifically warned against pricing above on price marked packs or breaking down multipacks “To sell items individually for a higher price.” It said stores discovered doing this “will have their account put on stop and all credit facilities will be withdrawn. Anyone with a best-one fascia also risks having their fascia removed.”

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The warning came five days after the Competition and Markets Authority announced a new ‘taskforce’ to “take enforcement action” against stores that exploit the pandemic “by charging excessive prices” or misleading consumers. Several independent convenience stores have already been named and shamed on social media for price increases, leading Spar to also warn its partnered stores not to raise prices.

Bestway response to demand

Pervez said Bestway’s stock control teams were “working around the clock to ensure our depots are replenished.” The managing director also confirmed to betterRetailing that Bestway is “not putting prices up” in response to the crisis.

Retailers reported over-crowding in cash and carries across London last week. Photos seen by betterRetailing show crowds of retailers in Bestway’s Park Royal depot in London awaiting pallets to be unpacked on 20 March.

In response and in line with new Government guidance, the wholesaler  outlined changes for depot rules. This included a ban on under 16s, limits on the number of people in depot at any one time and marking off 2m distances on the ground.

Like Booker, some depots are “closing early to allow teams the time to replenish stock.” Bestway also promised to provide customers with material to help them advertise local delivery services.

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