Almost one third of Booker's customers are using the internet in one way or another, claimed chief executive Charles Wilson. "The entrepreneurship and dynamism of the small business community is fantastic," he said. And he claimed the opportunities being opened up by web technologies would help independents give the supermarkets a run for their money. "The average shop carries only a few hundred lines compared to a supermarket. Now the internet means they can broaden their range without the cost of space and offer a much better level of service." Although Booker was keen to ride the technological revolution, he said it would not do so at the expense of customer service. "We are having entrepreneurial teams and joint ventures to exploit these new opportunities without distracting the core operation from being the most efficient and providing better service to customers and suppliers." Wilson claimed that by the end of 2001 Booker would be the cheapest route to market. "Nobody will be able to move a case around the country more efficiently than us." But to hit that target Booker, like all wholesalers, needed to be more transparent in its dealings with suppliers ­ particularly on the issue of cost, he admitted. {{NEWS }}

Topics