The Group is the UK's largest cash and carry operators, offering branded and private-label goods which are sold to over 481,000 customers including independent convenience stores, grocers, leisure outlets, pubs and restaurants. The Group currently lists circa 18,000 product lines, comprising an extensive range of branded and own label grocery, fresh and frozen food, beers, wines, spirits, tobacco and non-food items. In the year to March 2012, sales totalling £2.8 billion were collected by the customer from the group’s branches and sales totalling £1.1 billion were delivered to the Group’s customer premises.
In June 2010 and June 2011, the Company was awarded "Wholesaler of the Year" by The Grocer magazine. In June 2010 and 2012, the Company was awarded "Green Wholesaler of the Year" by The Grocer magazine.
Cash and Carry branches
The Group currently trades from 172 branches in the UK. The average size of these branches is approximately 47,000 sq ft, although the Group has four branches over 100,000 sq ft and 12 branches under 20,000 sq ft. In January 2008 the Group launched free delivery services which are available from 163 branches. All branch staff have been trained on ‘PRIDE’, focusing on improving the parking, reception, internal, delivery and exit experience for customers.
Booker Direct is the Group’s delivered wholesale business which serves national accounts UK-wide. It has already established itself as the UK's largest food supplier to the cinema sector with customers including VUE and Odeon. Other accounts include HM Prisons in England & Wales (in partnership with DHL), Marks and Spencer and the NAAFI, as well as the more recent additions of SSP, HMV, and WH Smith Travel Ltd.
In September 2009 we opened our first business centre in Mumbai. We now have 10,000 customers and the customer reaction has been excellent. We have also launched 118 Happy Shopper symbol retailers which harness the lessons from Premier in the UK for the Kirana stores of Mumbai. We are in the process of opening our second business centre in Mumbai and our first joint business venture in Pune.
The Group operates three regional distribution centres, Hatfield and Haydock in England and Livingston in Scotland, and has a national distribution centre in Wellingborough. These distribution centres supply the cash and carry branches and two of them also handle retail deliveries.
As at 30 March 2012, the Group had approximately 338,000 catering customers, including pubs, restaurants, leisure facilities and catering outlets.
As at 30 March 2012, the Group had over 83,000 retail customers. The Group offers its independent retail customers the opportunity to trade under its Premier brand which provides the benefits of a national symbol group whilst retaining the personality and entrepreneurial spirit of the independent retailer. The Group will typically subsidise the fit out of the store's fascia, signage and other imagery in return for certain minimum spend contracts. At 30 March 2012, there were over 2,700 Premier branded stores in the UK. At the Convenience Tracking Programme Awards in May 2008, Premier won “best in class” for availability, customer service and value for money.
The Group sells an extensive range of grocery, tobacco, alcoholic products and other products used by its customers , who are predominantly independent retailers and caterers. In the year to 30 March 2012 tobacco sales were £1.5 billion (38 per cent of total sales for the year) and sales of other products totalled £2.4 billion (62 per cent of total sales for the year).
The Group owns a number of "own label" brands including:
- Catering brands – Chef’s Larder and Lichfields;
- Wine, spirit and tobacco brands – Malt House Vinters and Chekov; and
- Retail own label – Happy Shopper and Euro Shopper.
Euro Shopper is a brand that the Group is licensed to use in the United Kingdom. The existing licence runs until 2017.
In June 2007, the Group re-launched the improved booker.co.uk site – having made the site easier to use with a more efficient search capability. Customer satisfaction with the new site has been excellent. Sales on the site have increased from £44m per annum in the year ended 30 March 2007 to £635 million for the year ended 30 March 2012. In 2008 the Group was awarded ‘Online Retailer of the Year’ at the Retail Industry Awards.
The Company employed approximately 9,375 employees as at 30 March 2012. The Group is an equal opportunities employer and the Directors believe that the Group’s people are the key to the future of its business and intends to continue to develop them at all levels of the business.