Retailers are braced for Booker symbol operators to benefit from lower wholesale prices should a merger with Tesco increase its buying power.

RN analysed the prices six retailers served by different wholesalers paid for a basket of 10 popular convenience lines, including Rekorderlig cider, Wrigley’s Extra gum and iceberg lettuce.

Bestway and One Stop were the only wholesalers charging retailers less than Booker, by 14.9% and 6.1% respectively. Palmer & Harvey charged the same as Booker, while Nisa charged 5.3% more and Spar 13% more.

David Ramsey, of Best-one Byram Park Stores in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, said he wasn’t surprised Bestway stood out as the cheapest.

However, he expressed apprehensions about what the Booker-Tesco merger would mean for the industry.

“I’m sure Booker retailers will gain an advantage as a result of the merger, especially as One Stop stores are already getting a better deal. I think we are all a little worried,” he said.

Londis retailer Chris Herring said he expected the merger to result in better buying prices for Booker customers.

However, a One Stop retailer, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The difference will be if all Booker customers benefit from increased buying power, not just symbol stores.”

He was surprised Bestway was cheapest as he expected buying power to be a result of highest store numbers.

Charles Wilson previously told RN Booker is committed to delivering better prices for its customers.

Speaking to RN in February, he said: “Retailers are right to say, with Tesco’s buying scale, we should be able to do a better job for customers. Yes, we are committed to that.”

Spar retailer Susan Connolly said she was not surprised her wholesaler was more expensive than Booker on eight out of 10 lines.

While Nisa was the same price or cheaper on seven lines, its basket cost was pushed up by being significantly more expensive on three products.