July 6, 2016 / 6:59 AM / 3 years ago

Wholesaler Booker says tobacco sales continue to bite

(Reuters) - Booker Group Plc BOK.L, Britain’s biggest cash-and-carry wholesaler, said tobacco sales in the first quarter continued to be negatively impacted by a ban on small stores displaying tobacco products.

The company, which serves 1.3 million customers, said tobacco sales were down 7.7 percent on a like-for-like basis for the twelve weeks ended June 17. The business accounted for more than 30 percent of sales in the full year ended March 25.

Total sales, including the contribution from two grocery chains the company bought last year, rose 10 percent.

Booker also said it would ask shareholders to approve a capital return of about 57 million pounds at a meeting later on Wednesday.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair

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