Suppliers have told Booker to improve category management, store layout and its approach to promotions. Trading director Shaun Birrell admitted at an IGD trade briefing that there was a lack of trust between Booker and suppliers and pledged to work to improve relations. He also asked suppliers to share information, promising that they wouldn't be stitched up "for another 2%". "Give us a chance, and bury the past," he said. A straw poll of Iceland suppliers revealed many thought the firm focused too heavily on deals and terms and communicated poorly. They asked for better category management and more clarity. Booker claimed it aimed to establish a sustainable value proposition for its target consumers ­ C2D families ­ with less dependence on bogofs, as well as more emphasis on npd in its frozen food range. Category planning is now in place across the group, a more coherent advertising strategy is being developed, and local marketing will be increasingly used to tie in stores to communities. A third picking centre is being planned to boost the home shopping service. In what chief executive Bill Grimsey admitted was an "extraordinarily honest" appraisal of the business, the group bared its soul to suppliers and called on them to support Booker and Iceland's bid to re-invent their business. Calling it a "group in recovery", Grimsey urged less confrontation and more collaboration and predicted that there would be large overlaps in ranges between the divisions. A few days before, Grimsey told investors at a Salomon Schroder Smith Barney conference he planned to integrate the two companies in areas such as food technology, optimising cross-selling opportunities, and supplier over-laps ­ 50 companies currently supply Booker, Iceland and Woodward Foodservice. He added that there should be integration synergies in buying worth £11.7m in the 12 months to March 2002. Booker md Gerry Johnson admitted the delivered wholeservice was uneconomic and re-iterated its bid to take 12% of the market through improving its reliability and the order capture business as well as growing the range. {{NEWS }}