Wholesaler Booker has shared this statement with the Plunkett Foundation in response to the ongoing challenge that many rural community shops have reported over securing the vital stock they need.

Supporting Rural Community Shops

“At Booker, we appreciate the vital work that rural community shops are doing during this outbreak, and our Booker colleagues are working tirelessly to do everything they can to support all of the local shops that we supply.

“This is an extraordinary time for our business, and the reality is that we have experienced a substantial increase in demand for a number of products, with the retail businesses we serve experiencing significant uplifts and subsequently increasing their orders with us. Demand has increased by 300% on some product lines. We have had some localised challenges with availability, but we are working to restock our branches as quickly as possible and to fulfil orders.

“We are in constant contact with our supply chain, to understand any challenges and to work together to meet demand. We have wrote to our suppliers of our most in demand categories to again ensure they are aware of the challenge and requesting that they prioritise this stock, so we can work together to refill our stock levels.

“We have introduced a range of measures to try and ensure availability for our existing customers including rural community shops. This includes restricting the quantities customers can purchase on some of the most in-demand lines to try to ensure availability for more customers. We have also suspended our delivery service to new customers to focus on our existing rural delivery customers, and staggered entry times to enable more customers to access the products they need.

“Product availability does continue to improve, and we continue to do everything possible to continue to supply all of our retailers who are doing an amazing job of serving the public at this challenging time.”