Booker releases trading statement

Following the decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to clear the acquisition of Londis and Budgens in Great Britain, Booker Group has brought forward its September (relating to the 10 weeks to August 28) trading update.

The UK’s biggest wholesaler had a reasonable period, with non tobacco like-for-like sales up 0.5%. Tobacco sales had been depressed by the retail display ban, so this was seen as a good result. Total sales in the 10 weeks to August 28 were down 2.0%, with tobacco 6.5% lower and non-tobacco up 0.1%.

Booker Wholesale and Makro customer satisfaction improved and profit performance was in line with expectations, said chief executive Charles Wilson.

“Our delivered wholesale businesses Booker Direct, Chef Direct, Classic and Ritter also had a good period,” he said. “Sales in India are continuing to make progress.

“Our balance sheet remains strong with a net cash position as at 28 August 2015 of approximately £110m. Booker Group remains on course to meet expectations for the year ending March 26, 2016.

Wilson concluded: “Booker Group continues to make good progress. Our plan to ‘Focus, Drive and Broaden’ the Group is on track. We continue to improve choice, price and service to become the best supplier to caterers, retailers and small businesses in the UK. We are pleased that the acquisition of Londis and Budgens has been cleared by the CMA. This will help strengthen our support for independent retailers throughout Great Britain.”

Booker Group will announce its interim results for the 24 weeks to September 11 on Thursday, October 15.

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