Booker has said Makro’s performance in the second quarter was “challenging” as the firm booked an increase in group sales.

Sales in the 12 weeks to 14 September 2012 climbed 4.3% and 3.3% in the first 24 weeks of the year.

The wholesale and cash and carry group said on a like-for-like basis second-quarter sales rose 4.4%, with non-tobacco sales up by 3.8%. For the half year, like-for-like sales increased 3.1%, with sales excluding tobacco rising 3.8%.

The sales figures do not include any contribution from the Makro business which Booker acquired on 4 July. Booker stated that in line with accounting rules, Makro is initially being held as an investment in Booker’s balance sheet and will only be consolidated into its financial statements once competition clearance is obtained.

However, Booker said Makro’s performance during the past ten weeks has continued to be “challenging”.

The UK food wholesaler bought the local cash-and-carry assets of German retail giant Metro Group.

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Elsewhere in the business, the company said its cash and carry business, Booker Wholesale, had had “a good half”, with improved customer satisfaction, higher customer numbers and sales in line with expectations.

Booker Direct, its delivered wholesale division, also had a good half-year, the company said, while its Ritter Courivaud speciality foods business “performed well”. Booker said Chef Direct, the foodservice business launched in January, was “making good progress”.

In its Indian operations, Booker said the company’s two units in Mumbai and its joint venture in Pune were performing in line with expectations. The company will open two further units in India during the second half of the year.

“Booker Wholesale and Booker Direct have had a good start to the year as we continue to improve choice, price and service,” said CEO Charles Wilson. “We are confident that once we have clearance from the competition authorities, Booker and Makro will be able to improve choice, prices and service for the caterers, retailers and small business in the UK. Makro will prove a good addition to the Booker Group.”