Booker is rolling out its new Booker/Makro combined format to four new depots over the next few months.

The cash & carry giant has so far introduced the new-format depots - combining Booker and Makro into the same building - at its Sheffield, Preston, Belfast and Enfield branches, following its acquisition of Makro in April 2013.

Chief executive Charles Wilson remained coy over all four locations but said “if you went to Park Royal and Charlton you would start to see the changes very quickly”.

The new formats take excess space from Makro depots to introduce a Booker offer, amalgamate Booker and Makro’s catering offer and create space for Booker’s delivered business. The offer was also tailored for the local area. The approach was “working well,” Wilson added.

Wilson also said he planned to increase Booker’s delivery ­capacity by about 80% in the next two years through utilising excess Makro space and upgrading its fleet. Booker’s delivered sales have grown from £600m in 2008 to £1.4bn in 2014.

Unveiling its interims for the 24 weeks to 12 September on Thursday, Booker, which has 202 sites, posted a 16% increase in pre-tax profits to £67.4m during the half-year. Total sales rose 1.9% to £2.3bn, with non-tobacco sales up 3.4% and tobacco sales up 0.6%.

Like-for-like sales to caterers increased 2.7% to £686m. Like-for-like sales to retailers rose 2.6% to £1.3bn.

Wilson described sales to small businesses as “OK” but reiterated that Booker was continuing to exit unprofitable categories for Makro, such as toys and large electricals.

“Christmas this year, for example, is very much geared for the trade and professionals not the public,” Wilson added.

Booker’s shares were trading up 3.5% to 121p as The Grocer went to press.