Strong availability helped Booker’s non-tobacco sales rise by 5.9% and non-tobacco like-for-likes go up by 6.2% in the 16 weeks to 29 December 2017.
Group tobacco sales declined by 2.6% with tobacco like-for-likes down 2.1% in the same period, though. As a result, total sales were up 3.4% and like-for-likes were up 3.8%.
Overall, both the retail and catering arms of the business – which received the green light for its merger with Tesco – performed strongly, while online sales increased by 14% to £381m.
Booker also started supplying the Shell and MRH forecourt businesses in the quarter.
Booker chief executive Charles Wilson, said: “We continue to focus, drive and broaden our business to improve choice, prices and service for our customers. The proposed merger with Tesco is progressing as planned. We are very grateful for the support we have received from customers, suppliers, shareholders and colleagues during this process.”
Steve Fox, Booker’s managing director for retail, added: “We are pleased with our retail performance and we had a good Christmas. We worked hard with suppliers and maintain strong availability and remain committed to helping our customers ‘make more and save more’. It is a privilege to be serving Shell and MRH and I am confident we can continue to help our customers prosper.”