Booker plans remain on track in face of illicit tobacco trading

Further integration of the Makro business has seen impressive results for Booker over its latest 24 week trading period, though the illicit tobacco market continues to effect sales. The Makro turnaround is on plan and the company revealed it should deliver £26m of synergies this year.

For the period ending 13th September 2013, Booker Group posted sales of £2.2bn, up 16.5%. Like-for-like sales were +2.3% while non-tobacco sales were +5%. Tobacco sales themselves were down 2.2%, something Chief Executive Charles Wilson put down to the combined impact of illicit trade and the rise of e-cigs.

Commenting on the illicit market he said: “We’re encouraged by what we’ve seen from HMRC. That support is important. Tobacco companies need to help retailers step through the next two years, this education is something we’re working on at Booker but manufacturers need to take the lead. It’s an important agenda.”

Online sales at the company grew to £369m, +11% measured against last year. Profit after tax stood at £58.3 (+43%), contributing to improved net cash of £123.4m.Wilsonsaid:“Our plan to Focus, Drive and Broaden Booker Group is on track.  The team at Makro have settled into the Group and are making a real contribution.  Through working together Booker and Makro are improving the choice, price and service for our retail, catering and small business customers.  Our Customer Satisfaction improved which helped drive non tobacco like for like sales up 5.0%.”

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