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The Northern grocer has benefited from a stellar Christmas period last year

Booths has posted full-year sales increase of 4.4% to £296.7m in the year to 2 April 2022 (up £12.6m from £284.1m the year before) due to a return of regular trading patterns post-Covid as well as a record-breaking Christmas season in 2021.

Profits before tax rose to £3m from £1.9m, while EBITDA grew by £1.4m to £13.3m (versus £11.9m in 2021).

The retailer said the continued effects of the pandemic could still be seen in the past 12 months of “extraordinary profitability”, which it did not expect to continue “at these levels” in the current financial year.

Increased footfall and higher basket spend contributed to the company’s sales and profit increase. Last year’s Christmas period was particularly significant for the business, with sales up 6.5% over the three-week trading period to 1 January 2022 compared with the same period the year before.

Booths said in its latest financial accounts that trading patterns in 2021 were “mixed” due to the government-imposed lockdowns, which affected café operations throughout the year.

However, a rebound in performance for its Lake District stores once domestic travelling restrictions eased contributed to a boost in sales.

Despite being upbeat about the full-year results, CEO Edwin Booth warned of looming difficulties for the family-owned business as inflationary pressures mounted.

“Just as with the advent of the pandemic, we are being fleet of foot to recognise difficulties and address them swiftly as they arise,” he said.

“I am in doubt that the financial performance of the business will not be as extraordinary as in the past two years. However, we will take every opportunity to present Booths’ customers with the best value possible and ensure that we look after both their palates and pockets.”

He added that Booths has seen a reduction of volume sales since the cost of living crisis began intensifying earlier this year, and that he was “keeping a very close eye on the differential between volume and retail sales values”.

“In addition, the board has been swift to determine actions to mitigate costs in such a way to protect the intrinsic value of the Booths offer.”