Booker's Charles Wilson on their Grocer Gold 2013 award wins.

The Wholesaler of the Year award may soon be known simply as the Booker Prize, after the cash & carry giant walked off with this award for the fourth year in a row.

2012 was a transformational year for Booker. And if the acquisition of Makro stole the headlines - though it didn’t receive the green light until April this year - that shouldn’t detract from the wholesaler’s successful launch of a new foodservice business called Chef Direct. Operating out of Booker’s Didcot depot, it picked up a number of national accounts including Aramark, Loch Fyne Restaurants, Realpubs, Angus Steakhouse and Revolution Bars.

The Indian operation, opened in 2009, also made great progress: the retailer now has four depots in the country, serving 12,000 customers, and has grown its Happy Shopper fascia there to 185 stores.

Charles Wilson

Closer to home, heavy investment in fresh food space and facilities continued, along with conversion of more outlets to the Extra format, helping sales to caterers rise 6.2% during the period, and by 2% to retailers - while its growing Premier fascia added 252 stores to help it win the Symbol Retailer of the Year (see below).

Booker also passed the £4bn sales mark in 2012, up 3.5% for the year to 29 March 2013, while pre-tax profits rose 13% to £101.5m. Booker’s share price has been boosted still further. This time last year, Booker shares were priced at 87p. Today, they are trading at around 125p, having hit a high of 132.2p last month.

With Makro now in Booker’s clutches and ambitious plans for the enlarged group, beating Booker to the award next year will be a hard ask.


The Grocer Gold Awards 2013 - Grocer of the Year