Despite a continued decline in tobacco sales – down by 5.6% in the latest half year – and overall like-for-like retail income decreasing by 2.8%, Booker Group managed to increase pre-tax profit by 9% to £81 million in the 24 weeks to 9 September on sales enhanced by Londis and Budgens up by 13% to £2.5 billion.
Chief executive Charles Wilson, speaking from the company’s Oxford cash & carry, said that good progress has been made in both the retail and catering sectors, the Indian business is “performing as expected”, and internet sales (not including Londis and Budgens) grew by 10% to £506 million.
While the amount of pure cash & carry business transacted from branches is thought to be declining, Wilson would not divulge the average C&C percentage of sales from these outlets.
He did say, however, that deliveries from these depots are increasing and that Makro branches are also making a valued contribution to distribution.
Booker Direct made headway by starting to deliver to Prezzo and Carluccio’s chains, and the Premier retail combine added more than 150 outlets and now comprises 3,358 stores.
One of three Londis depots (South Elmsall, West Yorkshire) has begun distributing fresh food to 20 Premier and Family Shopper branches.
In addition to Premier outlets, Booker is curently servicing more than 1,900 Londis stores, 150 Budgens, 3,500 Shoplocally stores and 52 Family Shoppers.
In catering, the Chef Central depot in Norwich has begun a trial of same-day deliveries, offering a wider range, including biodegradable cleaning products.
Booker Group (01933) 371000