The ban on smoking in public places, introduced last summer, has hit tobacco sales at C&C giant Booker.

Like-for-like tobacco sales fell 7.9% for the 16 weeks to 4 January while like-for-like non-tobacco sales rose 2.4%.

Total sales, including Blueheath, were up 1.3% on the same period last year.

"This is a solid performance in a challenging market," said CEO Charles Wilson. Sales, stock, profits and net debt all remained in line with management expectations, he added.