The UK’s largest cash and carry wholesaler Booker Group has posted a 13% rise in first-half profits, beating market expectations and prompting shares in the group to jump in morning trade today (18 October). 

In its half-year earnings update, Booker said pre-tax profit climbed to GBP50.6m (US$81.7m), up from GBP45m last year. Revenue increased 3.3% to GBP1.9bn. Like-for-like sales, excluding tobacco, rose 3.8% in the six months. Margins at Booker rose to 2.7% versus 2.49% in the first half of last year. 

Booker said the result excludes the Makro business, which it acquired in July from Germany’s Metro. Booker said it anticipates the acquisition to weigh on its operating profit in the second half of the year by “nil to GBP10m”. 

“First-half profit before tax from Booker has beaten our expectations by 8%… after a stronger margin performance,” Investec analyst Nicola Mallard wrote in a note to investors. 

The beat prompted Mallard to raise Booker’s full-year profit before tax by 3%. 
Shares in Booker were up 4.33% at 11am BST, rising to 98.44 pence.

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