The move appears to be one of the first steps taken by new chief executive Charles Wilson as he aims to boost its fortunes. Booker’s turnover in 2005 fell 7.5% to £3.23bn. Wilson came from M&S with a reputation for efficiency and cost savings.
Booker called in its biggest suppliers to discuss the issue in December and has talked to smaller suppliers recently.
Wilson told The Grocer that for the most part talks had been positive but admitted that out of around 600 suppliers, not everyone was happy. One major supplier angered by the move said Booker had asked for significant cuts in invoice costs to cover the costs of freight and transportation. He said: “Booker seems to be merely passing on the costs of its central warehousing. We have not agreed to these changes and would expect that Booker will face a lot of opposition.”
Another supplier said it was refusing to bend to Booker’s demands. It was angered that Booker claimed it was receiving less favourable terms than Cheltenham-based cash and carry operator Hub wholesale, which it bought last October.
“It amazes me that one wholesaler could have been getting better terms than Booker. At this point we do not know which lines Hub was selling or where it was getting its products from,” he said.