Total sales in the 24 weeks to 12 September 2014, including Makro, rose by 1.9% on the same period last year. Booker like-for-likes (excluding Makro) were 2.4% higher with non tobacco like-for-likes up 3.4%.
Booker Wholesale, the cash and carry division, had “a good quarter”. The company said: “Customer numbers were up and sales were in line with expectations. Overall, the delivered wholesale businesses continued to make progress. The Makro turnaround is on track with cash and profits in line with expectations.”
Makro’s non-tobacco like-for-likes were down 10.8% in the 12 weeks and down 11.4% in the half as Booker carried on its strategy of exiting non-profitable, non-professional categories. “We have converted 4 Makro outlets to the new, improved format and will complete a further 4 in the second half.” said a spokesperson.
The Group’s financial position remains strong with a net cash position of £107m.
Charles Wilson, CEO, said: “Booker Group continues to make good progress. This was a good quarter with Booker non-tobacco like-for-like sales up 3.1%. Our plans to Focus, Drive and Broaden Booker Group are on track. We continue to improve choice, price and service to become the best supplier to caterers, retailers and small business in the UK.”
Steve Fox, sales director – retail, said: “Our retail business continues to make good progress. Premier is performing well and started to advertise on TV during the period. The advert highlights the great value available and the community aspect of Premier stores. A £3 Euro Shopper basket of groceries is also featured to highlight everyday low prices too. Family Shopper is progressing in line with our expectations and we remain focussed on improving choice, price and service for all independent retailers.”
David Cattrall, sales director – catering, added:”We have continued to help our catering customers save money. Our prices have been keen and the relaunch of Chef’s Essentials is working well. Our cleaning ranges are flying. Delivery is performing well and we are looking forward to continuing to serve our customers in the run up to Christmas.”
Mark Aylwin, MD – direct, said: “Booker’s delivered wholesale business continues to make good progress. Our operation at Didcot is now well established and we are delivering superior product availability and high levels of customer satisfaction. Our one-stop solution has generated significant interest across the industry. Although the outlook remains challenging we are confident we can grow the business and continue to develop our successful partnerships model with our customers.”
Booker Group plc will announce its interim results for the 24 weeks to 12 September 2014 on October 16.