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July 10, 2013

UK: Booker reports “good” Q1 sales

Booker CEO Charles Wilson said the UK wholesale and c-store retailer had made "good progress" in its first quarter.

Booker CEO Charles Wilson said the UK wholesale and c-store retailer had made “good progress” in its first quarter.

Sales, including the contribution of the Makro stores Booker acquired from Germany’s Metro Group earlier this year, were up 13.6% in the three months to 21 June.

Booker’s non tobacco like-for-likes were up 3.1%, despite last year having a Diamond Jubilee and better Easter weather, the retailer said today (10 July).

The company said it is on course to meet expectations for the year ending 28 March 2014.

“Booker Group continues to make good progress,” Wilson said. “Our plans for bringing Booker and Makro together are on track. Booker and Makro are continuing to improve choice, prices and service for all our catering, retailing and small business customers in the UK.”

Shares in Booker, up almost 29% in 2013, were down 2.84% at 126.6p at 12:07 BST.

Shore Capital analyst Darren Shirley said Booker’s update indicated the company’s core business was “a little behind expectations”. The result “implies the need for a little pick up in trading momentum through the year to meet forecasts”, Shirley said.

However, he added: “That said, we continue to believe that Booker has a lot ‘in the tank’ with which to avoid disappointment.”

Shore Capital has a ‘sell’ recommendation on Booker’s shares. Shirley said: “To justify Booker’s valuations, we believe structural upgrades are required. As such, with no evidence of upgrades from today’s update, and Q1 trading below expectations, we reiterate our ‘sell’ recommendation.”

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