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The John Lewis motto is ‘never knowingly undersold’. Stella Artois prides itself, meanwhile, on being ‘reassuringly expensive’. Booker chief executive Charles Wilson’s mantra is ‘choice, price, service’.
These three words have formed the backbone of the 20-odd industry presentations, press briefings and meetings I’ve had with Mr Wilson since he introduced them in 2006.
Last Wednesday, during an exclusive tour of the Booker-Makro test site in Sheffield, it struck me just how powerful winning team buy-in to a unified message and unwavering goal can be.
Every one of the wholesaler’s dozen or so senior managers and directors I spoke with that day explained how they contribute to increased choice, more competitive prices and better service for their customers.
Another thing repeated many times that day was how Sheffield’s innovations, and the rollout to the estate, contributes to the company-wide target of growing the customer satisfaction score from 85% to 90%.
A mantra is something considered capable of creating transformation. Back in 2005, Booker was £361m in debt. Today the group has £123m in the bank after achieving £4.7bn worth of sales last year. Mr Wilson expects this to reach £6bn by 2017.
While increasing choice, price and service are not bad values for any retail business, Mr Wilson says they hadn’t been extended to the Premier estate. Instead, Premier members are encouraged to think about what offer is right for the consumer and then deliver a brilliant execution accordingly.
But one thing is certain: once you have created your own business strategy or mantra, if you are to replicate even a fraction of Booker’s success, you will need the support of everyone in your business in working towards your goals.
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