The Royal Wedding, Easter and the hot weather helped cash & carry giant Booker post bumper first-quarter figures.

Total sales rose 9.5%, or by 7.4% on a like-for-like basis, in the 12 weeks to 17 June, the wholesaler said. Non-tobacco sales rose 9.1%, while tobacco sales jumped 10.1%.

“The first 12 weeks included the impact of Easter phasing, an extra bank holiday, favourable weather and a large increase in tobacco duty,” said CEO Charles Wilson. “After a good start we anticipate that Booker is on course to meet expectations for the year ending 30 March 2012.”

Booker Direct MD Mark Alywin added that the wholesaler was making good progress with Classic Drinks and Ritter-Courivaud, the on-trade wholesaler and fine foods supplier it acquired in November last year. Classic Drinks’ operations had now been moved into Booker depots, while Ritter-Courivaud continued to “enjoy promising growth” and customer numbers had expanded.

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