LONDON, April 4 Booker Group Plc,
Britain's biggest cash-and-carry wholesaler, said its recently
acquired Makro business was trading in line as it reported a
rise in group sales in the quarter.
The company, which runs 172 branches supplying caterers,
convenience stores, grocers, restaurants and pubs, said total
like-for-like sales were up 2.2 percent in the 12 weeks to 29
March compared to last year.
The company said that annual profits remain in line with
Analysts are forecasting full-year pretax profit of 95.7
million pounds ($144.9 million), according to Reuters estimates.
The company's quarterly non-tobacco sales rose 4.2 percent
on a like-for-like basis, while tobacco sales were down 0.9
Booker has defied the downturn in the UK cash and carry
market, managing to grow sales as Britons increasingly shop at
their local convenience store instead of supermarkets.
Total sales for the year to 29 March 2013 were 4 billion
pounds, up by 3.5 percent compared to last year and in line with
expectations, boosted by rising internet sales.
Last month, the Competition Commission provisionally cleared
Booker's merger with Makro, the loss-making UK business of
German retailer Metro.
Until it receives formal clearance, Booker is required to
hold the Makro business separate, but it said that the Makro
business had been trading in line with its expectations in the