Booker’s rivals have pledged their support for independent retailers concerned about the future of their business following the wholesaler’s merger with Tesco.

News of the £3.7bn deal prompted wholesalers and buying groups to ramp up their recruitment efforts, with John Kinney, retail director at Today’s Group, tweeting: “Today’s Group wholesale members are proud to be independent businesses committed to supporting independent retailers; is your wholesaler?”

Today’s members backed up Kinney’s words.

Speaking to Retail Express, Andrew Wild, joint managing director of Wilds of Oldham in Greater Manchester, said: “There’s a big opportunity for members in Today’s to go on a growth plan to convert Booker franchisees.”

Nick Ramsden, group managing director of Dee Bee Wholesale, added: “I would assume a proportion of current Booker customers wouldn’t want to contribute to one of their competitors’ profits.”

Landmark, which operates the Lifestyle Express and Bmorelocal fascias, also made its intentions clear.

John Searle, Landmark trading director, said: “This represents a genuine opportunity for Landmark and its members to further engage with independent retailers to exclusively serve their needs.”