Booker defies economic gloom as sales surge in spite of Makro

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and Carry giant Booker yesterday defied the economic gloom to report a surge in sales over the past quarter.

The firm – which supplies almost half a million businesses including corner shops and pubs – said total sales were up 4.3 per cent in the quarter to 14 September compared to last year. Non-tobacco sales were 3.9 per cent higher, while tobacco sales rose 5.1 per cent. On a like-for-like basis sales rose by 4.4 per cent.

However, the firm said the performance of wholesaler Makro – which it acquired in July – continued to be “challenging”.

But Booker chief executive Charles Wilson insisted that he could improve trading at the wholesaler. “Makro will prove a good addition,” he said.

Booker also said its new food service business – Chef Direct – launched in January had “made good progress.”