Booker has announced a sales boost of 2.3% over the 12 weeks to 29th March compared with the same period last year. Annual sales to the same date stood at £4bn, up 3.5%.
Non-tobacco sales were 4.3% higher, while tobacco sales fell by 0.8%. On a like-for-like basis total sales rose by 2.2% compared to the same period last year, non-tobacco sales rose by 4.2% and tobacco sales fell by 0.9%.
Total sales in the 52 weeks to 29th March (excluding Makro which had been subject to a Competition Commission inquiry) were £4bn, up by 3.5% compared to last year, and total like-for-likes were up by 3.3%. Like-for-like non-tobacco sales rose by 4.5%, while like-for-like tobacco sales increased by 1.3%. Sales to caterers rose by 6.2% and retailers by 2.0%.
Customer numbers at Booker increased by 5% to 504,000 and customer satisfaction improved further. Internet sales at the wholesaler, increased by 11% to £704m.
The Group had around £77m net cash at the end of the year, compared to £63m a year ago. This is after paying a part cash consideration of £15.8m for the Makro business. After acquiring Makro last July, the Competition Commission announced a review of the deal, which is provisionally clearer. Booker anticipates the final report being issued by 24th April.
Charles Wilson, Booker Chief Executive, said: “In a challenging environment, Booker has continued to grow non tobacco sales by 4.3% through improving customer satisfaction. We are into the final stage of the Competition Commission’s review of the Makro acquisition and we remain confident that a combination of Booker and Makro will improve choice, prices and service for caterers, retailers and small businesses in the UK.”
Steve Fox, Sales Direct – Retail added: “Booker started 2013 with one of our most successful promotions; our 40% POR campaign. During the quiet months of January and February, the extra profit this campaign delivered for independent retailers was very well received. It covered over 400 of the most popular branded and own-label lines and was a real boast for our customers. Premier, Retail Club and Shop Local 2 Go continued to perform well and helped members offer great value. The outlook remains challenging for independent retail, however by focussing on improving choice, price and service I am confident they will grow their business.”