Booker Group reports sales rise as it gears up for £3.7bn Tesco merger

 
Helen Cahill
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The Tesco-Booker merger is expected to close next month (Source: Getty)

Booker Group reported a sales rise today as it updated shareholders on trading ahead of its merger with Tesco.

The figures

Like-for-like sales at the group were up 3.8 per cent for the 16 weeks to 29 December, but the results were mixed. Tobacco sales fell by 2.1 per cent, while non-tobacco sales grew by 6.2 per cent.

Read more: Tesco "outperforms market" with Christmas sales rise

Excluding Budgens and Londis, online sales were up 14 per cent to £381m.

At time of writing, Booker Group's share price was down 3.4 per cent to 225p.

Why it's interesting

Tesco shareholders will be looking at Booker Group's Christmas performance as they prepare to vote on its £3.7bn merger with the supermarket. In a statement today, Booker said it expected its shareholders to approve the takeover, and that the deal would likely close towards the end of next month.

Read more: Tesco's Booker bid approved by the CMA: This is how the City reacted

"The Booker merger may provide a material new silo for the combined group to fill in the form of the foodservice market," said Cliver Black, analyst at Shore Capital. "However, that is about the medium-term for sure to our minds."

What Booker said

Charles Wilson, chief executive of Booker, said: “Booker Group had another good quarter with like-for-like non tobacco sales up 6.2 per cent. We continue to focus, drive and broaden our business to improve choice, prices and service for our customers.

"The proposed merger with Tesco is progressing as planned. We are very grateful for the support we have received from customers, suppliers, shareholders and colleagues during this process.”

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