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Booker Retail Partners to close Andover distribution site

A wholesaler which supplies food and drink to stores across the UK is to close its Andover site, with some staff “at risk of redundancy.”

Booker Retail Partners, located on Walworth Industrial Estate, is set to close its Andover distribution centre in late spring next year, following the site becoming too small for its needs.

This is due to the strong growth of Budgens and Londis stores, which the company acquired in 2015.

One member of staff told the Advertiser that the decision had been announced on Tuesday, with suppliers “turned away” to allow company bosses to hold socially distanced meetings with staff.

They said that “possible redundancy is on the cards,” as well as the possibility of staff being transferred to the company’s site in Didcot, which has a significantly larger capacity than that in Andover.

A spokesperson for Booker Retail Partners told the Advertiser: “”The lease on the Booker Retail Partners distribution site at Andover has expired. BRP have conducted a review and because Budgens and Londis are growing strongly we require more space. As a result, we are proposing to close the distribution centre in the second quarter of next year.

“We will transfer the operation to our Didcot site, which has two and a half times more space, additional freezer capacity and will support further growth opportunities. This will help enhance the service we provide to our retailers to help them grow and prosper in a challenging market.

“With regret, as a consequence some colleagues are at risk of redundancy and we are at the start of the consultation process. We will be working hard to minimise the number of colleagues affected by this and will be fully supporting them to find other roles within the group.”

Booker was founded in the 1800s as a shipping firm by George and Richard Booker, and gives its name to the literary award the Booker Prize. In 2018, the company merged with Tesco in a deal worth billions of pounds.

For now, the Andover distribution site remains open, with closure to follow between April and June next year.

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