…..approached Booths to be included in a new feature, in which Monocle identifies a gap in the market and sets out a plan for filling the niche. The gap in question was for a specialist regional supermarket in Scotland, and Chris Dee, CEO at Booths, was consulted for his expert opinion.
Read an extraction of the article published in April 2016, below
Just south of Hadrian’s Wall, a plausible model for our prospective business has been quietly flourishing for nearly 170 years. High-end supermarket Booths operates 29 stores, mostly in the northwest of England, and has assiduously cultivated its ties to the region. Localism is a key part of the retailer’s business model. “We don’t see ourselves as just running a supermarket chain,” says Booths ceo Chris Dee, a 21-year veteran of the company. “We see ourselves as very much the heart of an ecosystem and our suppliers are fundamental to that. So we nurture and develop them as well as buy from them. We’d buy something that tastes great even if it’s badly branded and packaged – we can put them in touch with someone who’ll help.”
Dee says it is crucial to have enterprising local buyers: “We expect them to be not at their desk but out in the field – often literally.” He also notes that Booths encourages approaches from suppliers, especially through their quarterly “meet-the-buyer” days, when local producers are given the opportunity to pitch.