Booker enjoys small rise in Q4 sales despite tobacco woes

Despite struggles with tobacco sales, Booker enjoyed a strong quarter

Booker enjoyed a small rise in Q4 sales, despite growth being hit by falling tobacco sales.

The wholesale giant reported like-for-like sales growth of 0.7% for the 12 weeks to 24 March, 2017, while total sales grew 0.5% in the period.

Non-tobacco like-for-likes were up 4.7%, while total non-tobacco sales were up 4.5%. Booker, which owns the Londis, Budgens and Premier retail brands,  and is in the process of agreeing a tie-up with Tesco, said that this was due to the existing tobacco display ban and the plain packaging rules which are currently being introduced.

Internet sales, meanwhile, excluding those from Budgens and Londis, grew by 8% to £233m.

Booker said that its total sales were up 6.7% to £5.3bn in the 52 weeks to 24 March, while like-for-like non-tobacco sales were up 2.8%. Tobacco sales continued to struggle – they were down 7.5% year-on-year. However, City analysts have noted that although tobacco was an important component of the wholesaler’s turnover, it did not make a significant contribution to profits.

Booker CEO Charles Wilson, said: “The [Tesco] merger is going through the competition process. Meanwhile, it is business as usual as we continue to improve choice, prices and service for our retail, catering and small business customers.”


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