Premier retailers are up in arms over Booker’s plans to supply BHS with the Happy Shopper and Euro Shopper brands as part of the chain’s new Food store concept.
The first two BHS Food stores opened their doors in Staines and Warrington this week, with BHS owner Sir Philip Green keen to roll the concept out to 150 outlets. The range will include a variety of key Euro Shopper and Happy Shopper lines, as well as heavily promoted branded goods up to 10% cheaper than in the supermarkets.
Premier retailer Dan Cock, of Whitstone Stores in Holsworthy, Devon, said the own brand ranges should be reserved for the Premier estate.
“These brands give Premier retailers a strong point of difference from other high street operators, which in this market means a great deal,” Dan said. “Making them available elsewhere will dilute their impact and erode some of our competitive edge. Booker’s hunger for growth seems to be overtaking its need to protect its existing assets, which in this case is the Premier business.”
Booker, however, claims the move would benefit its own label brands and Premier retailers. “By making our own brands available on the high street it will broaden the consumer appeal of Happy Shopper,” a spokesman told Convenience Store.
But Pratik Sampat of Premier Food and Wine in Sydenham, London, disagreed. “This BHS deal is an insult to retailers like myself who have shown loyalty and turned Booker around. I’m not persuaded by the argument that raising awareness of own brands could benefit Premier retailers,” he added.
C-Store understands that Premier’s retailer forum has been awash with concerns about the impact on deliveries.
Dev Aswani of Premier Jasmines in Swansea said he shared those fears, but added: “We must not lose sight of the great things about Premier, such as the nationally-recognised fascia and great promotions.”
Linda Williams, of Premier Broadway, Edinburgh, added: “The impact on deliveries is a worry for us. Some depots are already struggling to fulfil quantities, especially when there are promotions. I hope BHS doesn’t get the same promotions as Premier retailers.”
Bob Bettesworth, of Bob’s Shop (Premier), Newdigate, Surrey, said he felt “out of the loop”.
“Booker hasn’t communicated it to us Premier retailers at all, which is a bit annoying,” he added.