Shares in Booker closed up more than 4% today after the UK wholesaler reported a 19% increase in half-year profits.

Booker posted profit after tax of GBP36.1m for the 24 weeks to 9 September, up 19.1% on the same period last year. Pre-tax profits climbed 22% to GBP45m.

The higher profits came on the back of an 8.5% increase in total sales to GBP1.8bn. Like-for-like sales were up 6.5%.

"We improved choice, price and service for our customers, which increased sales by 8.5%," chief executive Charles Wilson said. "Ritter Courivaud and Classic, the two businesses we acquired last year, have fitted nicely into the Group and the internet and India are making good progress.  In a challenging business environment, Booker continues to advance."

Shares in Booker finished the day at 76.9p, up 4.63%. Looking to the second half of its financial year, the company said group turnover was so far ahead of the same period last year.