Booker has reported a 36.8% increase in half-year pre-tax profit to £21.2m on sales up 2.5% at £1.5bn.

Like-for-like sales rose 0.4% in the six months to 14 September, the wholesaler said. Sales to retailers fell 0.8% during the period because of the smoking ban but sales to caterers were up 3.2%.

The results included 12 weeks trading from online delivered wholesaler Blueheath, which was swallowed by Booker in a reverse takeover in May this year.

“In the past six months the weather has been unfavourable and smoking has been banned in public places,” said CEO Charles Wilson. “Despite these challenges, Booker Group is continuing to make good progress and the integration with Blueheath is on track.”