Booker bucks grim retail trend with sales rise

Britain's biggest cash and carry wholesaler Booker said it was on course to meet full-year expectations as it posted a rise in first-quarter sales, showing its resilience against a weak industry backdrop.

The firm, which runs over 170 branches supplying convenience stores, restaurants, pubs, schools and prisons, said on Wednesday its total sales in the 12 weeks to 17 June rose by 9.5 per cent year-on-year.

It said sales at stores open over a year rose 7.4 per cent, with non-tobacco sales up 5.7 per cent and tobacco sales up 10.1 per cent.

Booker said the 12 weeks period included the impact of Easter phasing, an extra bank holiday, favourable weather and a large increase in tobacco duty.

"After a good start we anticipate that Booker is on course to meet expectations for the year ending 30 March 2012," said Chief Executive Charles Wilson.