Speaking as BFG unveiled full-year figures ahead of analysts' expectations, Grimsey said collaboratively managed inventory sharing data with suppliers to reduce stockholding and drive availability was "really gathering pace".
Measures to tackle shrinkage had boosted underlying operating profit at Booker, and group savings from online auctions topped £17m during the year, said Grimsey.
However, while progress on the new drop shipment scheme had been "phenomenal", take-up of the online ordering facility from Booker's new Wolverhampton delivery hub had been slower than expected.
Grimsey rejected reports that Icelandic retailer Baugur, which has a 22% stake in BFG, was unhappy with his strategy for Iceland. "There is no rift with Baugur. The issues they have as shareholders that investment in refurbs should produce a return are legitimate. But we are getting those returns. Like-for-like sales at refurbished stores have been over 14%."
Full-year like-for-like sales at Booker were up 1.2% excluding tobacco, but down 1.3% overall. Iceland's were down 4.3% and Woodward's up 10.6%. Group pre-exceptional, pre-tax profit slipped 13.5% to £37.1m on sales down 2% to £5.1bn for the year to March 28, 2003. Analysts expected profits of £30-35m.