Booker sales growth surges ahead

Booker’s sales have powered ahead at the start to its financial year, rising 9.5% in the 12 weeks to June 17 compared with the same period last year, and up 7.4% on a like-for-like basis.

Non-tobacco sales rose by 9.1% (5.7% on a like-for-like basis) and tobacco sales grew by 10.1% (10.1% on a like-for-like basis).

Speaking at its annual general meeting today, chief executive Charles Wilson said: “The first 12 weeks included the impact of Easter phasing, an extra bank holiday, favourable weather and a large increase in tobacco duty. After a good start we anticipate that Booker is on course to meet expectations for the year ending 30 March 2012.”

Mark Alywin, managing director of Booker Direct, said: “Booker Direct continues to grow strongly from new account wins and our existing customer base.”

He said Ritter-Courivaud, the supplier of fine food to caterers acquired last October, was growing and increasing customer numbers. And referring to the supplier of drinks to the on-trade acquired at the same time, he added: “We are pleased with the progress of the Classic integration, with the completion of the depot moves into Booker branches and the successful moves from the head office at St Helen’s to our Haydock site. We are now in a strong position to continue to grow.”

Ron Hickey, sales director – catering, commented: “It was a fast start to our financial year benefiting from increased consumer demand with Mother’s Day, Easter, the Royal Wedding and both bank holidays falling in the first quarter. We have made good progress and are grateful that more catering customers have given us more of their available spend, in what continues to be a very value conscious market.”

“We have made a good start to the year in a competitive grocery market,” said Steve Fox, sales director – retail. “Offering value remains absolutely key for our independent retail customers and we continue to do this through improving our choice, price and service. We have increased our Euro Shopper range and launched our biggest ever Roll Back, where we have lowered the price of over 1,000 products. Our first quarter performance is promising and we remain committed to supporting our customers during a very challenging year.”

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