Booker is to add a fee of around £10 for its click and collect service, while also reducing the categories picked per order.

The service was previously free from participating cash and carries, provided retailers met minimum order requirements of £100. betterRetailing understands retailers were informed by depot staff about the changes, a week before they come into force alongside a new delivered charge on 28 February. Historically, Booker has come to local arrangements with retailers for click and collect from selected depots. The service is currently in a trial phase and the wholesaler is continually reviewing it for improvements.

As part of the delivered fee, Premier and Family Shoppers are charged £29.95 per delivery, rising up to £34.95 for non-symbol stores. Stores affected by the delivered fee had told betterRetailing at the time of its announcement that they would be looking at making more click and collect orders to offset any increased costs from deliveries.   

Rivals Bestway, Parfetts and Filshill also offer a click and collect service, but they do not charge retailers to use the option. One affected retailer, who asked not to be named, told betterRetailing: “Do we continue giving Booker our service or do we now spread our ordering to other wholesalers? I wonder if a lot of retailers will have a rethink and make Booker realise they’ve gone too far. I certainly will be having a rethink about switching to another supplier who doesn’t charge.”

Another store owner added they may have to rethink their investment in their own personal vans due to the click and collect charge.

Retailers also claimed the wholesaler changed its picking for click and collect orders to ambient-only, adding more time pressure to stores who rely on the service. Previously, depot staff would also help retailers pick tobacco, frozen and chilled products.

However, some retailers argued Booker was justified with its introduction of the fees. One store owner told betterRetailing: “A lot of retailers started offering a home delivery service during the pandemic, which came with its own charges. It’s the same principle with Booker. Costs are going up and Booker has wages to pay for its warehouse pickers and drivers. They’ve also got insurance costs, too. You can’t expect to get a service for free.”

Another Booker retailer added: “I do get click and collect orders from another wholesaler, but I can’t really praise their service. Often I actually have to go into the branch myself to get my order and not every product is usually there. I also have to send reminders personally to the depot manager about invoicing. I use click and collect because of the convenience and paying a fee isn’t bad if it means I get a better service.”

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