Booker Group, which supplies Londis, Budgens and Premier stores as well as running cash and carries across the UK, has reported strong growth in non-tobacco sales in its latest trading update, but tobacco sales were sharply down.
For the 12 weeks to March 24, group non tobacco sales rose by 4.5% with non tobacco like-for-likes up 4.7%. Group tobacco sales declined by 7.9% with tobacco like-for-likes down 7.5%.
The company said tobacco sales were affected by the tobacco display ban and new plain packaging restrictions coming into force. Total sales were up 0.5% and like-for-likes were up 0.7%.
For the 52 weeks to 24 March 2017, total sales were £5.3bn, up by 6.7% compared to last year. Like-for-like non-tobacco sales increased by 2.8%, and like-for-like tobacco sales reduced by 4.6%.
Booker chief executive Charles Wilson said: “Overall, 2016/17 was a good year. Customer satisfaction was good and sales were the best we have ever achieved. Booker Group remains on track to focus, drive and broaden the business.
“On 27 January we announced the planned merger with Tesco. We are excited about the benefits the enlarged group will bring to consumers, our customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders. The merger is going through the competition process. Meanwhile it is business as usual as we continue to improve choice, prices and service for our retail, catering and small business customers.”