The scheme is being made available to all 170 Premier customers in the region, with a nationwide launch planned for January 2003. Booker hopes it will help drive the growth of its Premier membership, which it aims to increase from 700 to 2,000 in the next three years (The Grocer, July 6 2002, p4). There are also longer term plans to provide drop shipment for non-Premier members.
The initiative allows retailers to buy direct from suppliers at favourable terms negotiated through Booker's considerable buying power. Retailers place orders via Booker, transactions with suppliers are handled electronically, and customers pay by direct debit.
Booker said the project had helped Premier members maintain stocks of frequently ordered items such as milk and bread and secure items it did not widely stock.