Booker Group's boss said today that the competition review of the company's merger with Tesco was "progressing" as the group unveiled a sales rise.
For the 12 weeks to 8 September, total sales at the wholesaler rose 1.1 per cent. The group was boosted by Booker Group's non-tobacco products, with sales in this division up by 5.8 per cent. Tobacco sales fell 9.7 per cent for the period.
Tesco's £3.7bn takeover of Booker is undergoing a lengthy investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which opened a "phase 1" probe into the deal in May. The two companies then requested for the investigation to be fast-tracked, and, in July, the CMA said the tie-up would be subjected to a more in-depth analysis.
In its initial findings, the watchdog highlighted the problems associated with Tesco-Booker acting as both a supermarket and supplier. Booker could potentially reduce its services, or change the terms under which it trades with certain stores, in order to drive customers to Tesco, the CMA said.
A final verdict on the deal is expected before Christmas.
Wilson said: "Our plan to focus, drive and broaden Booker Group are on track. The competition review of the planned merger with Tesco is progressing. We continue to help our retail, catering and small business customers prosper through improving our choice, prices and service."