The focus on ‘business as usual’ despite the looming proposed merger with Tesco has led to a 14% rise in operating profit for Booker of £176.1m for the year ending March 24, according to its chief executive Charles Wilson.

Financial highlights included group sales of £5.3bn - up 6.7%; with non tobacco sales up 8.7% and tobacco sales up 2.4%

“Booker Group had another good year,” he said. “Our plan to focus, drive and broaden the business remains on track.” He said Premier, Family Shopper, Budgens and Londis were working well, while customer satisfaction was strong and sales and profits were the “best we have ever achieved”.

“We are planning to merge with Tesco to create the UK’s leading food business. This merger should deliver significant benefits for our consumers, Booker customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders.”

Steve Fox, managing director, Booker Group - Retail, said: “Our retail business has made good progress this year and the integration with Booker Retail Partners continues to deliver benefits for customers. We understand that it is tougher than ever for independent retailers with tobacco changes, auto enrolment and the national living wage to name a few, which is why were remain committed to help them ‘make more and save more’ through improving choice, prices and service. I would like to thank our customers for their help and support and am looking forward to continuing to serve them."