Wholesale giant Booker has announced a rise in like-for-like sales of almost 3% for the past four months despite a slight fall in tobacco sales.
Sales of tobacco dropped by 0.9% on a like-for-like basis over the 16 weeks to 2 January. However, that was offset by a 5% rise in non-tobacco sales, which contributed to an overall increase of 2.7% on a like-for-like basis.
Total sales also rose by 2.7% for the period, while online sales more than doubled compared to last year. The news prompted Booker to say its profits would be in line with previous expectations.
“The last quarter was a difficult time for our customers – but due to our improvements in choice, price and service, Booker has been rewarded with a larger share of their spend,” said chief executive Charles Wilson.
“We are particularly pleased with the growth of internet sales, which were up 169% on last year at £83m. In a challenging market Booker continues to make good progress.”
Meanwhile, the wholesaler said it has also secured an agreement to extend its debt facility for a further two years. Under the terms of the deal, which extends the facility from 2010 to 2012, Barclays replaces Icelandic bank Kaupthing as a lender alongside HBOS.
However the Kaupthing Capital Partners private equity fund, which is in administration but being managed by a professional fund manager, retains its 22% stake.