Booker has moved quickly to allay Londis and Budgens retailers’ uncertainty over their future following the firm’s £40m purchase of Musgrave GB.
The deal, which is subject to approval by the Competition and Markets Authority, will see Booker add 1,630 Londis stores and 167 Budgens stores to its retail estate of 3,082 Premier and 30 Family Shopper sites.
Booker is understood to be inviting Londis and Budgens retailers to a meeting this Friday to discuss concerns about the move.
It has also written to Premier and Family Shopper retailers highlighting the benefits of the deal, including use of Musgrave’s chilled and frozen supply chain and increased scale to reduce costs for store owners.
It comes months after Musgrave announced plans to turn around falling sales and operating losses, including the launch of dedicated teams and separate price files for both its fascias, culling hundreds of unprofitable stores and unveiling its Londis 2020 plans.
Musgrave retailers told RN they were unsure how these plans would be affected by the Booker deal, but were cautiously optimistic.
Bintesh Amin, owner of Blean Village Londis, said: “We’re positive about the move but need some clarity on what changes are going to be introduced. We hope that Booker is open to listening to Londis and Budgens retailers.”
We’re positive about the move but need some clarity on what changes are going to be introduced. We hope that Booker is open to listening to Londis and Budgens retailers
Jatinder Sahota, owner of Max’s Londis in Sheerness, added: “The Budgens and Londis directors have done a great job, and as long as Booker gives them the time to implement their propositions for the future, I can’t see us failing.”
Booker chief executive Charles Wilson assured Londis and Budgens retailers that is was not looking to consolidate fascias or own label ranges.
He said: “Budgens stands on its own ground and it has some interesting ranges and great retailers, while Londis has a good heritage with its retailers and consumers. We’re expecting these, along with Premier and Family Shopper, to form the four pillars of our fascia plans.”