Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said he is confident that the retailer’s takeover of Booker Wholesale is still on track and likely to get the Competition and Market Authority’s approval.
Speaking to Retail Express Lewis said: “We remain confident that the Booker transaction is completely on track.”
The comment comes despite renewed opposition from industry sources including Bestway and an anonymous symbol group strongly criticising the deal in September. The debt crisis and potential collapse of P&H is likely to further complicate the Tesco-Booker deal.
Asked by Retail Express what role Tesco are playing in crisis talks currently underway between P&H and key partners and investors, the Tesco CEO answered: “P&H are a long term partner and we announced a three year new contract with P&H after announcing the merger. We’re completely committed to working with P&H evan after the end of the Booker deal, and I know it isn’t the Booker deal that is driving the concerns of P&H.”
However, earlier comments from the CMA suggest it believes Tesco-Booker has both the means and the motivation to put an end to the struggling wholesaler.
Tesco’s newly released results show strong performance in grocery, with a 1.5% uplift in grocery sales in the UK and a 21% jump in profits to £471m. The CEO said that despite restructuring earlier this year, staff and customer confidence remain high.
Tesco took the decision to axe 1,700 deputy manager roles across its Express convenience store portfolio in February, either making redundant or demoting those filling the positions.
Discussing the impact of the changes, Dave Lewis commented: “It’s part of a suite of changes including changing the range in our convenience stores. We’ve been reducing the workload and releasing time to serve customers better. Customer feedback is strong with Net Promoter Score increases and colleague feedback is that we’re making the role easier.”