Booker is about to start a regional trial of peer-to-peer lending to help retailers invest back into their business at a time when they are “struggling” to get support from the banks.

Speaking at the IGD Convenience Retailing conference last week, head of Premier Martin Swadling said the wholesale giant was set to explore ways of leveraging its financial position to help retailers finance investments - through peer-to-peer lending or “other avenues like that”.

“It’s very, very hard for our retailers to get support from traditional means,” he said. “So we’re about to start a regional trial on whether we can leverage our strong financial position to help get investment into our retailers’ business.

“If it works, it could be a really exciting way of giving small shopkeepers a way of investing back in their business when they’re struggling to get that support from the banks.”

Booker did not reveal details but confirmed it was something the business was “looking at”.

The government has been ramping up support of peer-to-peer lending as a means of ‘bypassing the banks’ to unlock new channels of capital.