Booker FY sales rise

Booker FY sales rise

UK wholesaler Booker Group has booked an increase in revenue during 2012, led by gains from non-tobacco sales to caterers.

In the year to 29 March, booker said sales were up 3.5%, excluding the impact of its acquisition of Makro from Germany's Metro Group. Like-for-like sales rose 3.3% and like-for-like non-tobacco sales increased 4.5%, the group said in its interim management statement today (4 April).

Sales to caterers were up 6.2% while sales to retailers were up just 2%. Booker continued to make in-roads into the catering sector during the year, including the launch last summer of an online sales channel, Chef Direct, specifically targeting catering customers.

The company added it is now in the "final stages" of obtaining regulatory approval for its acquisition of Metro Group's UK wholesale business Makro. Booker reiterated its belief the combination of the two businesses would "improve choice, prices and service" for its customers.

Show the press release


Quarter Four Interim Management Statement

Booker, the UK's leading wholesaler, is pleased to announce its trading performance for the 12 weeks to 29 March 2013. Total Sales, excluding Makro (see Notes), rose by 2.3% on the same period last year. Non-tobacco sales were 4.3% higher, while tobacco sales fell by 0.8%. On a like-for-like basis total sales rose by 2.2% compared to the same period last year, non-tobacco sales rose by 4.2% and tobacco sales fell by 0.9%.

Total sales in the 52 weeks to 29 March 2013 excluding Makro were £4.0bn, up by 3.5% compared to last year, and total like-for-likes were up by 3.3%. Like-for-like non-tobacco sales rose by 4.5%, while like-for-like tobacco sales increased by 1.3%. Sales to caterers rose by 6.2% and retailers by 2.0%. Customer numbers increased by 5% to 504,000 and customer satisfaction improved further. Internet sales increased by 11% to £704m. Our delivered wholesale businesses are progressing and our expansion in India continues with the opening of our third branch in Mumbai.

The Group had around £77m net cash at the end of the year, compared to £63m a year ago. This is after paying a part cash consideration of £15.8m for the Makro business. Profits for the 52 weeks to 29 March 2013 remain in line with expectations.

We acquired Makro on July 4th 2012. The Competition Commission is finalising its review of the transaction and during this review we are required to hold the Makro business separate from the rest of Booker. The Competition Commission has provisionally cleared the acquisition and we anticipate the final report being issued by 24 April 2013. In the last quarter Makro has been trading in line with our expectations. The senior management of Booker and Makro remain confident that, by working together, we will be able to improve choice, prices and service for caterers, retailers and small and medium sized enterprises. We will be able to offer foods and non foods via the internet, delivery and cash and carry to an enlarged customer base. This will help the customers of both Booker and Makro to prosper.

Charles Wilson, Booker Chief Executive, said:
"In a challenging environment, Booker has continued to grow non tobacco sales by 4.3% through improving customer satisfaction. We are into the final stage of the Competition Commission's review of the Makro acquisition and we remain confident that a combination of Booker and Makro will improve choice, prices and service for caterers, retailers and small businesses in the UK."


Original source: Booker Group