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Booker has now opened its first implant within a Tesco store so we popped in to check it out.  Located in the Tesco Extra hypermarket at Bar Hill, Cambridge, the Chef Central unit occupies approximately 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m) partitioned off in one of the front corners of the store.

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In a first indication of how Booker and Tesco may develop joint projects going forward, Booker to is to open a Chef Central store-within-a-store in one of the largest Tesco stores at Bar Hill, Cambridge.

To open late February

This first trial implant will open before the completion of the proposed merger (currently expected to occur on 5 March), and will be operated on an 'arm's length' basis pending the completion.  The project will be aimed at exploring further ways of exploiting currently under-used space within Tesco's very biggest stores.

To target professional chefs and 'food customers'

Building on Booker's professional ranges such as Chef's Essentials and Chef's Larder, the Chef Central implant will aim to provide a convenient offer to business customers in the catering sector; alongside the Tesco ranges, this will also allow ready access to fresh categories in particular.

First step in blending B2B with B2C

While caterers have been known often to purchase within retail channels, especially for smaller scale requirements, there have been few attempts within the UK market to specifically target B2B business within retail formats.  The merger of Booker and Tesco will clearly offer many opportunties for the blending of the retail and wholesale channels both in store and online.





IGD Tesco Business Update 2018


23 May, London


Hear from Dave Lewis, Group CEO, Jason Tarry, Chief Product Officer, and Alessandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer, along with their leadership team who will provide a business and commercial update.

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Booker, the leading UK food & grocery retailer shortly to merge with Tesco, has announced trading figures for the 16 weeks to 29 December, showing a step up in performance versus Q2 with total sales increased by 3.4%.  Like-for-like sales proved even stronger with growth of 3.8%.

Tobacco decline slowing

After sharp falls in tobacco sales in the previous two quarters, this category was down 'just' 2.6% in the period, reducing the drag on the continuing buoyancy of of non-tobacco categories which rose by 5.9%.  The company reports good progress with both the retail and catering focused elements of the business, and accelerating growth in online ordering, with internet sales up by 14%, hitting £381m.

New retail business to bring faster growth in Q4

Following the collapse of Palmer & Harvey, in December Booker made two significant new supply contract gains with the forecourt retail businesses of Shell and MRH, representing a combined additional 900 customer stores.  While providing some additional growth within the last few weeks of this latest period, the full impact of of this new business will only become apparent in next reported quarter; when retail customer business can be expected to be well ahead.

Charles Wilson, Chief Executive, Booker Group commented:

'Booker Group had another good quarter with like-for-like non-tobacco sales up 6.2%.  The proposed merger with Tesco is progressing as planned; we anticipate that the shareholder vote to approve the merger will be toward the end of February 2018.'

Route-to-market changes are impacting the way suppliers deal in UK convenience ...

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The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its final findings on the potential competition effects of the merger between Tesco and Booker, the UK's largest grocery retailer and the UK's largest grocery wholesaler respectively.  Reiterating the findings of the provisional report in November, this report gives the formal go-ahead for the deal, which will create a business with joint sales over £61bn.  Following submission to shareholder approval in February, it is expected the deal will complete in March 2018.

No remedies required

Following the conclusions reached in the provisional report the CMA has not identified any disposals, of other actions from the parties necessary to progress the tie-up.  In its analysis the CMA points to the 'vertical' nature of the relationship between Tesco and Booker, reasoning that being retailer and wholesaler respectively, "there is very little direct head-to-head competition between them", and suggests that rather than damaging competition these sorts of mergers even "may lead to efficiencies which may result in benefits to customers."

Collapse of P&H requires no change to decision

Following the fall of, Booker competitor, Palmer & Harvey into administration on 28 November (after the publication of the provisional findings) the CMA has considered what this has meant for the inquiry, and for competition at the wholesale level.  It has concluded that as significant alternative options of alternative supply remain to all P&H's former customers, the impact of the collapse on the wholesale market is not sufficient to require the reconsideration of its provisional decision on the merger.

Simon Polito, Chairman, CMA inquiry group said:

"We have carefully listened to feedback from retailers and wholesalers who operate in what are highly competitive UK retail and wholesale sectors.  Retailers have told us that they shop around for the best prices and service from their wholesaler, and we are confident this will continue after Tesco buys Booker."


An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Booker.
We review the remapping of customer relationships and the impact on UK wholesaling, following the collpase of the market's leading delivered operator.
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