Savings related to Tesco’s acquisition of Booker are ahead of schedule and delivering benefits for Booker partnered independent retailers, according to Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.

Newly released end of year results published by the supermarket show that Booker’s sales reached £5.8b, with a 6% increase in profits. At the same time, the wholesaler and Tesco achieved £79m in cost savings as a result of efficiency savings and better buying, the figure is £19m ahead of its targeted savings for the 2018/2019 financial year.

Lewis told RN said: “We’ve invested some of those savings back into lower prices, more choice and better quality for Booker Retail Partners.”

The CEO added that the collapse of Palmer & Harvey helped the firm to go beyond its savings target by using Booker’s network to supply tobacco into the Tesco's. “We’ve got a situation where we deliver to One Stop and petrol forecourts through the Booker network, so actually there’s quite a lot of synergies between the groups there.”

The investment in Booker’s retail partners as a result of the synergies relates to Booker’s ongoing campaign ‘Bigger group, better for all’, which was revealed by RN last month. It includes a discount tobacco club for its symbol partners; better quality Farm Fresh lines sourced via Tesco and reduced wholesale pricing on key fresh meat lines.

Tesco’s results show like for like sales at the company’s UK and Ireland stores grew by 1.7% and 1.3% respectively, compared to 11.1% at Booker.

One Stop’s total store estate stood at 772 after four openings and eight closures in the last year. Booker’s centrally owned retail estate stood at 197, with one opening and two closures in the same period. Tesco’s total store estate remained static and the CEO said he had no major store number increases planned for 2019/2020.

Over the summer, Tesco is to invite analysts and investors to its Welwyn Garden City HQ to discuss “untapped opportunities” in its products and its channels including at Booker.

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