Booker’s final results for the 52 weeks ended March 28, 2014 once more underlined the strength of the wholesale sector compared to the grocery multiples.
While the UK’s supermarket big-hitters continue to struggle to engage consumers, Booker proved the success of CEO Charles Wilson’s strategy, reporting post-exceptional pre-tax profit up 38% to £105.2m on the back of a sales rise of 17.3% to £4.7bn.
Like-for-like sales (excluding Makro) were up 2.1%, with non-tobacco sales posting a creditable 4.4% increase, while tobacco sales slipped a little – down 1.7%.
Wilson and his team, speaking to industry journalists today, said Booker was succeeding in its mission to broaden the base of the Features > Business, helped by last year’s acquisition of Makro, pointing out that sales in 2008 were made up of £2.1bn to retailers, £850m to caterers and just £80m to small businesses. This year the figures look very different with retailers contributing £2.7bn of sales, caterers £1.6bn and SMEs £400m.
And the business continues to strengthen its online growth with sales via the web now totalling £777m – an increase of 10% with 334,000 customers ordering online now compared to 255,000 in 2013.