Source: Bother

Bother CEO Doug Morton

An online supermarket that specialised in the “boring basics” and “heavy household essentials” has stopped accepting orders and announced it is to close.

Bother told customers it had been “an incredible journey” but it will be ceasing operations. It is understood the company failed to secure the funding it needed to continue.

The ambient and store cupboard delivery service launched nationwide in October 2020, ahead of its initial schedule, in response to pandemic demand.

It specialised in bulky and heavy repeat purchases such as toilet roll, cleaning products and washing powder, but had been rapidly increasing its range in recent months.

“Lugging bulky items home, whether you have a car or not, is a chore,” explained Bother founder and CEO Doug Morton to The Grocer last year. “Absolutely, we’re taking the hassle and muscle power out of buying your basics.”

Its ultimate ambition was to be the go-to retailer for everything but meat and fresh produce, which it hoped shoppers would shop for locally.

Bother – which claimed to be “price-competitive with the leading supermarkets” – operated from several warehouses in the Midlands with deliveries within 24 to 48 hours handled by DPD. Its delivery costs were “far more economical and efficient than traditional grocery delivery” Morton said, because items didn’t need refrigerating, and arrived in boxes to improve van capacity and drop-off times.

Its machine learning-powered ‘Bother Brain’ used customer data to “pre-empt their specific needs, allowing them to replenish their home in a single click”.

It launched a membership scheme four months ago which offered a 15% discount on all products for a £2.50 monthly fee.

The company received funding from the same investors who backed the likes of Deliveroo, Just Eat, The Hut Group and Farmdrop, and at last count had raised $12m. Investors included Sun Hung Kai & Co, Venrex Investment Management and Hoxton Ventures.

A source at the company said it was a “tough funding environment for startups at the moment and unfortunately Bother was in the thick of it”. Bother has been contacted for comment.

Speaking to The Grocer late last year, Morton said: “We took a blank sheet of paper, asked customers how grocery shopping should fit into the way they currently live their lives and then we built it.

“We’re disrupting the status quo and can proudly say that nobody is doing what we’re doing,” he said, adding, “We’re here for a good time and a long time.”