Booker 2016/17 results: profits up, sales top £5bn

Booker’s sales have broken the £5bn sales mark for the first time, the UK’s biggest wholesaler revealed in its results announcement today.

The group recorded a 6.7% lift in sales to £5.3bn for the year to March 24, 2017. Pre-tax profits rose 15% to £174m during the year.

Like-for-like retail sales were up 0.5% over the year with a 2.8% growth in non-tobacco sales. Tobacco sales dropped by 4.6%, hit by the spectre of EUTPD II legislation, which comes into force next week, and which has meant the disappearance of almost 90% of tobacco SKUs from independent retailers’ shelves, according to Booker boss Charles Wilson..

Meanwhile, the group’s foodservice and catering sales rose by 4.4% during the year after strong demand from operators and some strong orders from restaurant chains. The new own-brand, UK-sourced, Blackgate range was doing particularly well, said Wilson, who told Wholesale News that around 90% of the products Booker sourced were priced in sterling, which limited the foreign exchange impact from the weaker pound. However some customers were swapping ingredients to mitigate rising commodity costs, he added.

Wilson also said that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had not yet launched a formal review of its deal with Tesco and it was still asking for more information. Despite this, and despite the CMA’s notorious glacial pace when it comes to decision-making, he said he was confident that the Booker-Tesco merger would go ahead in late 2017 or early 2018, as planned.

We’ll have more on this story in the June issue of Wholesale News.

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