Booker total sales up 7.0%

Cash and carry giant Booker has delivered positive Christmas results despite a “challenging economic environment”, with total sales in the quarter up 7.0% on the same period last year, for the 16 weeks to 30 December 2011.   Non-tobacco sales were 6.7% higher, while tobacco sales rose by 7.6%.  On a like-for-like basis total sales rose by 6.5%, non-tobacco sales rose by 5.8% and tobacco sales by 7.6%. Customer numbers and the average spend per customer improved. Fresh departments performed well with fruit and vegetable sales up 17%.      To accelerate growth into the foodservice market, Booker has announced the creation of ‘Chef Direct’.  Chef Direct will serve major foodservice customers from a “state-of-the art” distribution centre in Didcot. Chef Direct will combine Booker’s scale and logistics capabilities with Ritter-Courivaud’s expertise in catering and speciality foods.   Charles Wilson, Booker chief executive, said: “Amid the challenging economic environment Booker continues to improve choice, price and service for our customers.  Our plans to focus, drive and broaden the group are on track and we are pleased to be developing Chef Direct to serve major foodservice customers.”  Steve Fox, sales director for Retail, said: “Offering outstanding value remains the key for independent retailers.  We understand it is a tough market for our customers and this is why we remain focused on improving choice, price and service to help them succeed.   “We have continued to add value to our Euro Shopper range with the addition of 500ml Energy Drink with a RSP of 69p and also improving the POR on Euro Shopper Spring Water. This now proves an extra £2 a case more profit to retailers, bringing the POR to 68%. We have also been pleased with our Farm Fresh sales.  “This offers retailers an easy and convenient solution to help them sell more fresh fruit and vegetables, while still delivering a minimum of 30% POR. We have continued to keep prices low with cornerstone convenience products such as bread and milk locked down throughout the period.  “The outlook remains challenging with shoppers continuing to watch every penny they spend. Customer numbers have improved and we are grateful for that more customers are choosing to spend more at Booker.”

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