Tesco boss Ken Murphy has confirmed more space is being dedicated to catering ranges at Booker depots, but stressed the investment would not “take away from retail.”
In its Q1 trading results for the 13 weeks ending 27 May 2023, the supermarket revealed it had seen “significant” like for like growth across both retail and catering. While retail sales saw a 6.3% annual growth during the period, the rise was outpaced by catering which saw a 10.8% increase.
Several Booker retailers had previously expressed frustration to Better Retailing claiming they had seen increased catering ranges in their local cash and carries, at the expense of the available retail products.
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Asked by our sister title Better Retailing whether this strategy had attributed to Booker’s catering performance, Murphy responded: “Catering is stronger than retail, but both are super important to Booker.
“What we are trying to do is optimise the space in our distribution centres to cope with the increased demand because Booker has the strongest offer in the market and the best value. It is winning share in the market and winning new customers.
“We have had to do work to optimise space and we’ve created a couple of retail delivered hubs in Exeter and another in Stoke. The models are working really well for us and this does allow us to dedicate more space to catering in some of our other distribution centres. It’s more optimisation rather than giving space to catering and taking away from retail. The latter is not what’s happening.”