Booker lifted by surge in demand for fruit ‘n’ veg

CASH and carry firm Booker saw sales rise in its third quarter.

Like-for-like sales – excluding tobacco – grew by 5.5 per cent and fresh fruit and vegetable sales soared by 54 per cent.

“It was a very unpredictable run up to the end of the year for most caterers, made even more so by the sporadic poor weather up and down the country,” said Ron Hickey, sales director for catering at Booker.

Nevertheless, the group managed to increase both customer numbers and average spend per customer in the 16 weeks to 31 December, a rise it attributes to improved choice, price and service.

Booker supplies catering businesses and 73,000 independent retailers through its 172 cash and carry depots and a nationwide delivery service.

Its two 2010 acquisitions Ritter-Courivaud and Classic are performing in line with expectations, the company said.