Wholesaler Booker Group's share price rose in trading today after the company reported a rise in sales.
In the four months to 30 December, Booker Group's non-tobacco like-for-like sales increased 5.1 per cent, far ahead of analysts' expectations of between zero per cent and 0.5 per cent. Total non tobacco sales increased 4.8 per cent.
Tobacco sales fell one per cent on a like-for-like basis, bringing overall like-for-like sales to a growth of 3.2 per cent.
However, Booker Group said it had had a good quarter, with its Premier stores growing well. Internet sales increased by 10 per cent to £333m - excluding online sales from Budgens and Londis, two other convenience store chains in the group.
Booker Group's shares were up 1.49 per cent after the announcement, which Clive Black, retail analyst at Shore Capital, said the update was "encouraging". He gave the company a "hold" rating with a target price of 181p.
Charles Wilson, Booker Group's chief executive, said: "Booker Group continues to make good progress with like-for-like non tobacco sales up 5.1 per cent. Our plans to focus, drive and broaden Booker Group are on track. Budgens and Londis are making a solid contribution to the group. We continue to help our retail, catering and small business customers prosper through improving our choice, prices and service."