Booker is pushing its delivery business harder than ever after incorporating much of the technology used by delivered wholesaler Blueheath, which it bought last May.

From this month, the cash & carry giant is offering free deliveries seven days a week on orders of more than £500. It has also improved online ordering, payment options and waived credit card charges.

Booker previously charged retailers for mileage accrued during deliveries and was less flexible on delivery times, particularly at the weekend. Steve Fox, Booker's director of retail and Premier development, said the improvements stemmed from Blueheath technology and longer opening hours.

"This all comes from listening to customers," added Fox. "These improved services will support our customers' businesses. An average retailer could save more than £1,000 a year by not paying any delivery or credit card charges."

This would make a significant difference to retailers' bottom lines and help them reinvest, he added.

The initiatives were a sign that Booker was developing a serious delivered offer, said Fox. Feedback from retailers indicated Booker had made strong improvements in accuracy and availability on delivered orders, he added. It was also delivering more on time. "All our products are delivered at cash & carry prices, which makes them highly competitive and they also have the convenience of ordering and paying online," he said.

Meanwhile, Booker had recruited 300 retail members to its Premier symbol group in the past year, said Fox, adding that this would be the best year for Premier in terms of sales when the group reported its year-end figures at the end of the month.

The Euro Shopper range and its Butcher's Market prepacked fresh meats had boosted sales, he said, adding that the former, introduced last July, was turning over £300,000 a week.