Booker’s 16-month trial to supply select Marks amp; Spencer stores with branded grocery products is to lead to a nationwide rollout of the scheme.
The wholesale giant had initially only been supplying M amp;S stores famous for their quality own label offerings in the north east and south east of England.
But M amp;S announced that the scheme which includes products from branded stalwarts including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Heinz had been so popular with shoppers that it now planned to extend the rollout of branded food and non-food items to all of its UK and Ireland stores.
As Wholesale News went to press, negotiations over an extension to Booker’s agreement with M amp;S were understood to be ongoing, with neither party keen to disclose details of those discussions.
Booker declined to comment, while a spokeswoman for M amp;S said: “For the time being we will be continuing with Booker but reviewing all possible options. We cannot say anything more at this stage.”
Whatever the terms of any future agreement, M amp;S said Booker’s first job would be to extend deliveries of branded products to more stores in the initial trial areas.
The delivery of around 400 branded grocery and household products will be extended to stores in other parts of the UK and Ireland from the New Year, with stores being offered an edited selection of the range according to their size.
M amp;S said all branded offerings would be price matched against the major supermarkets and that they had been chosen with customer convenience in mind and to complement, not replace, any of the chain’s own label grocery goods.
James Bielby, chief executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, said: “This is an exciting development for the wholesale distribution sector.”