Booker lifts non tobacco sales

UK cash and carry chain Booker said total fourth quarter sales increased, despite a challenging environment, as strong demand from independent convenience stores, caterers and restaurants continues.

UK cash and carry chain Booker said total fourth quarter sales increased, despite a challenging environment, as strong demand from independent convenience stores, caterers and restaurants continues.

Total sales, excluding Makro, for the 12 weeks to March 29th 2013 rose by 2.3% on the same period last year. Non-tobacco sales rose 4.3%, while tobacco sales fell by 0.8%.

On a like-for-like basis total sales climbed 2.2% compared to the same period last year while non-tobacco sales rose by 4.2% and tobacco sales fell by 0.9%.

Total sales in the 52 weeks to 29 March 2013 excluding Makro rose 3.5% to £4.0bn and total like-for-likes were up by 3.3%.

Like-for-like non-tobacco sales rose by 4.5%, while like-for-like tobacco sales increased by 1.3%.

Sales to caterers rose by 6.2% and retailers by 2.0%. Customer numbers increased by 5% to 504,000 while internet sales increased by 11% to £704m.

"Our delivered wholesale businesses are progressing and our expansion in India continues with the opening of our third branch in Mumbai," Booker said.

The group had around £77m net cash at the end of the year, compared to £63m a year ago. This is after paying a part cash consideration of £15.8m for the Makro business which it bought in July 2012. Profits for the 52 weeks to 29 March 2013 remain in line with expectations.

The Competition Commission is finalising its review of the transaction and during this review Booker is required to hold the Makro business separate from the rest of Booker.

Chief Executive Charles Wilson said: "In a challenging environment, Booker has continued to grow non tobacco sales. We remain confident that a combination of Booker and Makro will improve choice, prices and service for caterers, retailers and small businesses in the UK."

CJ

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