This morning, the cash & carry giant once again unveiled a sparkling set of first-quarter numbers.

Total sales for the 12 weeks to 17 June rose 9.5%, or by 7.4% on a like-for-like basis. Non-tobacco sales were up 9.1% during the period, while tobacco sales soared 10.1%.

Modest as always, CEO Charles Wilson described the results as “good progress”, and said the Royal Wedding, Easter and the hot weather had helped. But analysts were much more enthusiastic, with shares trading up 5p to more than 75p.

“Booker’s management are conservative and are inclined to play down the potential, but we see the upside as very substantial over the medium term, and we reiterate our view that Booker will be a FTSE 100 stock one day,” said Dave McCarthy from Evolution Securities.

“We are very reassured by today’s figures which confirm Booker as the momentum play in the sector,” he added.

The glowing analysis will certainly keep Booker’s rivals on their toes, especially as Booker was the recipient of the Wholesaler of the Year award at The Grocer Gold Awards for the second year running, but as Wilson himself pointed out last month the economy is expected to remain difficult and the food wholesale market remains competitive.

Innovation - like the sandwich with a 14-day shelf life, launched by Booker last week and revealed by The Grocer - will certainly help to keep Booker one step ahead.