Booker in fruit and veg boost

BRITAIN’S biggest cash and carry wholesaler Booker reported a six per cent rise in second-quarter sales, helped by the World Cup and sales of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The group, which supplies over 300,000 caterers and retailers from 172 branches throughout Britain, said its outlook for the year as a whole remains unchanged.

Analysts expect Booker to report a full-year pre-tax profit of £62.1m, up from £57.2m last year.

For the 12 weeks to 10 September, like-for-like total sales rose by 5.9 per cent, with fruit and vegetable sales up 46 per cent.

Chief executive Charles Wilson said: “During the last quarter sales were assisted by the benefits of the World Cup, a strong promotional programme and a good performance from Booker Direct.”

The World Cup fuelled sales as football fans stocked up on refreshments for the games.

The group, which has 172 branches across the UK, said plans to broaden the business, including were pressing ahead while its operations in India are progressing well.
As of 10 September 2010 net cash was £10.1m versus net debt of £4m a year ago.