It was a double Booker bashing from some West Country retailers

First up was Andrew and Sharon Carne writing from their small seasonal store The Old Boathouse at Sennen Cove, Penzance. Andrew says: “I am getting unreasonably wound up by Booker’s bombardment of promotions in the post and through electronic mail. They are for Skittles, and Pom-Bears, whatever they are. Children’s confectionery is the last thing on my mind when I cannot get basics like Oxo, sanitary products and Marmite – the list is legion. Some I get, when we are lucky, once every few weeks, some never. Looking up ladies’ toiletries category on the website there is nothing there. Pom-Bears, however, not an issue.”

They add that there has been no admission from Booker that there is a problem. “They have stopped what used to be a back-order service on cost grounds a mole tells me,” adds Andrew. “What worries me most is Tesco’s stated aim to focus on deliveries and the use of local dark stores to service that drive. Booker’s property portfolio serves that need very nicely. I cannot help wonder if the Tesco buy over is not so much asset stripping but asset repurposing.”

Then David and June Williams wrote from St James Dairy to point out some shortcomings. June says: “I read with interest your article with regards to price of goods from supermarkets as opposed to Booker’s. We have been saying the same for many months to our local branch Barnstaple and our retail managers.

“We were assured by them that we would find many benefits from the merger Booker/Tesco’s but alas we have yet to see any.”

They agree that it is cheaper to buy from the likes of Asda, Morrisons and, of course, Tesco itself.

They add: “Stock availability is another issue. We find being only a small independent we do not have the buying power of the big boys and we have found Booker have stopped many of our usual lines. Why? We feel that we, the small independents, have been totally disregarded by Tesco/Bookers and only wish that this merger had not taken place. Are we a lone voice in the wilderness or do I see that other small retailers feel like me? We are providing a valuable service to our customers during very difficult times and feel that we should be able to rely, even demand, some form of assistance from our wholesalers.”

A spokesperson from Booker’s responded: “We are sorry to hear of these concerns and although we do not discuss individual customers, we have picked up with them directly.”

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