Stores supplied by Booker Retail Partners (BRP) are set to have their delivery schedules altered from 23 March, affecting staffing and chilled food management for some Londis and Premier retailers.

Last month, Londis brand director Martin Swadling sent letters to retailers notifying them Booker was “now in a position to carry out a full network reschedule”, following the full integration of its distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead in January 2019.

Under the changes, retailers will be able to better predict and plan for deliveries, with the arrival window reduced from four to two hours. The letter said this was so stores could “better manage time and staffing in store”.

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The changes will have varying impacts on different stores. While some praised the move, others said they were informed their delivery frequencies will be reduced.

Ketul Desai, of Leiston Londis in Suffolk, told betterRetailing: “My manager told me about the changes, and I’ve had one day taken off my schedule.

“I used to have deliveries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Now I’m only getting deliveries on Monday and Friday.”

Another Booker retailer, who asked not to be named, said: “One of my deliveries now comes on a day on when I’m short staffed. I’m either going to have to look at my rota or provide more training. I don’t mind change, but this was forced upon us.”

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Despite the concerns, others said the changes to their times would improve their fresh and chilled categories. Atul Sodha, of Londis Peverills in Uxbridge, explained: “I’ll be getting one of my chilled deliveries in a morning. It works for me because I can put the products straight onto the shelf during my opening hours, so I get a longer period to sell them through.

“The current end-of-day deliveries do cause issues with shelf life.”

A Booker spokesperson said: “In recent weeks, we have been improving our network design to offer the best service to our customers and to ensure we are as sustainable as possible. Some of these improvements include single multi-temperature deliveries for all customers, order process simplification and ensuring frozen delivery is now available six days a week.

“We have also shortened our delivery windows to just two hours. Our goods- in schedule has also been refined to deliver better availability and have the capacity to extend our chilled range.

“We have been working closely with our customers for a smooth transition. However, any retailer who does have any questions can contact their retail development managers.”

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