The planned merger between Booker and Tesco represents an opportunity for the Today’s Group, its senior management said this week.
Asked at the Group’s annual Trade Show in Liverpool (March 7 and 8, pictured above) whether he thought that the deal would lead to further consolidation within the industry, acting MD John Schofield said yes.
“Undoubtedly there will be consolidation within the wholesale market,” he said. “We just don’t know what that will look like – everyone is waiting to see how the Booker-Tesco business pans out. Some will see it as a threat, some as an opportunity – ask a hundred different people what they think, and you’ll get 100 different answers.”
A number of Group members were already positioning themselves as the ‘friend of the independent retailer’ to capitalise on any fallout from the Booker-Tesco deal, he said.
“As we told our suppliers at a presentation [last week], we are the home of brands, the friend of brands, supporting the independent sector,” said Schofield. “Some companies will be very worried by Booker, but we honestly see it as an opportunity for our members.”
Quizzed as to the Group’s smaller members’ vulnerability to takeovers from big wholesalers, trading director John Baines said: “Quite a few of the members we’ve spoken to since the deal was announced have been very buoyant. They’ve realised that they are independents [wholesalers]serving independents [retailers]and there is a strong niche niche for them. The strength of Booker and Tesco together is obviously enormous, but there is strength in being an independent specialist within a group like Today’s.”
See the March issue of Wholesale News – out next week – for more news on the Today’s Group.