Wholesaler Booker's sales boosted by warm summer weather

Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:45am BST

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LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Booker Group, Britain's biggest cash-and-carry wholesaler, posted a 19 percent rise in second quarter sales as a warm summer drove up customer numbers and demand.

The firm, which runs more than 170 branches supplying caterers, convenience stores, grocers, pubs and prisons, said on Thursday like-for-like sales excluding its Makro business were up 3.5 percent in the 12 weeks to Sept. 13, with non-tobacco sales up 6.9 percent and tobacco sales down 2.0 percent.

Total sales in the period including Makro rose 19.3 percent.

Booker, which acquired Makro, the loss-making UK business of German retailer Metro AG, last year, in order to reach customers like small firms and hotels, said it was on track to integrate the division into its business.

The firm had operated Makro as a separate unit until Britain's monopoly watchdog cleared the acquisition in April.

Booker said its outlook for the full-year was unchanged.

Shares in Booker closed at 133.3 pence on Wednesday, up 40 percent on a year ago, valuing the business at almost 2.3 billion pounds.

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