Wholesaler Booker has released its trading performance for the 12 weeks to 25 March 2016.
For the 52 weeks to 25 March 2016, total sales were £5.0b, up by 5.0% compared with last year. Booker like-for-like total sales were down by 1.9%. Like-for-like non-tobacco sales declined by 0.3%, and like-for-like tobacco sales fell by 5.2%.
Like-for-like total sales to caterers rose by 0.6% including Classic (Booker's own on-trade wholesale business) and by 1.9% excluding Classic. The results describe continued price deflation in the catering market with like-for-like total sales to retailers reduced by 2.2% primarily due to the tobacco display ban while customer satisfaction scores remained strong and internet sales increased by 12% to £979m.
Booker Wholesale with Makro had a good quarter for customer numbers, with good customer satisfaction and cash profit. Non-tobacco sales reduced by 0.7% on a like-for-like basis with sales impacted by deflation in food prices and many customers reporting weak consumer demand during the period.
Booker Direct, Chef Direct, Ritter and Booker India performed as expected and the Premier sector was reported with continued growth to grow.
The results show the group with £126m net cash at the end of the year while profits for the 52 weeks to 25 March 2016 remain in line with expectations.
Charles Wilson, chief executive, for Booker, said: "Overall, 2015/16 was a good year. Customer satisfaction scores were strong, sales and profits were the best we have ever achieved and we made good progress on the integration of Londis and Budgens. We continue to improve choice, prices and service to our customers. Booker Group remains on track to Focus, Drive and Broaden the business."
Stuart Hyslop, managing director, Booker Group Catering & Small Business, added: "We continue to help our caterers through increasing choice, lowering price and improving our service for them. This is being achieved through delivering great value through our Locked Down package. This is the where we have secured a great low price on the most commonly shopped lines to help our customers plan their menu's with confidence. We continue to listen to our catering customers and provide the support that matters most to them."