Source: Booths

Booths will open in Braintree, Essex within the UK’s first electric forecourt

Upmarket supermarket Booths is to open its first store in the south of England in November,.

The family-owned business has teamed up with Gridserve, the company behind the UK’s first electric forecourt, in Braintree, Essex, to be one of its key retail partners.

WH Smith, Post Office and Costa Coffee will share the 3,000 sq ft retail space, which will be staffed by WH Smith.

It is a significant move for Booths, which for the past 173 years has only operated in the north of the country. The majority of its 28 stores are in North Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.

The range will consist of 500 products including wines and spirits, prepared meals, international foods, food-to-go, ambient bakery and beverages.

It comes as Booths undergoes a business transformation plan, which aims to grow its brand across a number of different channels.

Booths COO Nigel Murray told The Grocer this included developing its business-to-business sales and investing in manufacturing capabilities.

Booths is also keen to continue its established relationship with Amazon, which allows for its products to be shipped nationwide.

The new growth plans come as sales within its community stores and its packaged grocery category have risen during the pandemic, which also saw the business launch a home delivery and click & collect service, Murray explained.

However, sales were hit with the loss of Lake District tourism and the closure of cafés during the hospitality shutdown.

The retailer is yet to confirm if it will be present in all 100 forecourts that Gridserve is planning to roll out within the next five years, which following the opening of Braintree is set to continue with openings in Uckfield, East Sussex, and Norwich.

“We’re excited to work with Gridserve to deliver on our one simple aim – to sell the best food and drink available, in attractive stores, staffed with first-class assistants,” said Booths executive chairman Edwin Booth. “As a family-owned retailer with sustainability baked into our core, we couldn’t think of a more fitting opportunity to continue our journey into the south of England.”