Amazon is the biggest threat, not Tesco, says Booker boss

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Internet grocery offers from the likes of Amazon is where the threat to independents lie now and in the future, Charles Wilson told delegates at the Scottish Grocer’s Federation’s (SGF) Business Summit on 27 April.

He issued the warning during a panel discussion in which it was put to the Booker chief executive that the proposed £3.7bn Tesco and Booker merger deal would strengthen the hand of a large supermarket group that had in reality been trying to drive independent retailers out of the market.

Wilson said the suggestion missed the point and that anyone who could analyse the numbers could see that the real threat now and in the future would come from Amazon and its ilk.

The potential for growth in a highly competitive market was the key driver for the Tesco-Booker deal, Wilson told almost 200 delegates at the Inchyra Grange Hotel, in Falkirk.

The synergies and strategic fit that both parties brought to the table would:

  • · Drive growth
  • · Ensure efficiencies across the supply chain
  • · Deliver a better service to retailers
  • · Improve the offer to consumers.

Wilson said the key aim was to optimise efficiencies and ensure there was no waste across the supply chain.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Are these synergies and strategic fits different to the synergies and strategic fits that are allowing Booker to successfully integrate Premier stores into the Londis/ Budgens supply chain? Oh, wait....

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  • The continued growth of Amazon and online grocery shopping in general indeed does threaten independents, but to use that to try and deflect any attention to a Tesco bid for high street dominance in the sector is disingenuous in my opinion.

    The "synergies and strategic fit" points are general and one could easily say match Tesco ambitions to further strengthen it's own hand whilst having a negative impact on independents and customer choice.

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  • I am struggling with the logic of some people who are pushing conspiracy theory and unhealthy cynicism about the Booker / Tesco merger. There is no choice on consolidation. If you look at the market today, Amazon has not only got ambition and but also money in the bank after their recent acquisition in the bricks and mortar business... It’s quite the reverse for most of the symbol groups whose negative balance sheets alone speaks volume. Some of its members using meaningless jargon like independence are delusional. One only has to look outside your own bubble and see that the market is totally saturated and there is too much choice NOT LESS. That’s the reason why the convenience sector is struggling to provide the quality and the kind of offer that we all want. Scale is the key word and that’s why retailers should understand that they will not be in business if all they have to talk about enviously of Booker merger or simply espouse independence which no longer exists. Those retailers needs to be reminded that the luxury of so called “independence” has long gone. Partnering symbols and supporting scale is the new realty. Amazon and the German discounters are now serious challengers attracting all demographics which is the reason why the market has been spiked and we now have a perfect storm brewing!

    Arjan Mehr Londis Bracknell

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