"Are we going to be turning Booker retailers into mini Tesco? Not a chance.”
That was the promise made by Booker CEO Charles Wilson when he spoke to the press just hours after the news broke that Booker had struck a deal with Tesco. He also promised that Tesco own label would not creep into independent stores and that the company’s individual fascias – Premier, Londis, Budgens and Family Shopper – would each have exactly what they need to succeed.
In the initial aftermath of the news, one thing that shone through in social media comments and conversations with Premier retailers in particular, was that they trust Charles Wilson to ensure the future success of their business. They trust that he will continue to champion the independent sector and do right by them.
Should this deal be passed by the Competition and Markets Authority, Wilson and his team at Booker will need to avoid being overpowered by the forces at Tesco and continue to deliver for their independent retailers.
It’s testament to Wilson’s great leadership that he drew so many positive comments.
Those same retailers will want clean evidence on what the impact is though – or those comments might soon be less positive.