20 September 2012
Booker Group plc ('Booker')
Quarter Two Trading Update and
Notification of Interim Results Announcement
Total sales (excluding Makro) in the 12 weeks to 14 September 2012 rose by 4.3% on the same period last year. Non-tobacco sales were 3.9% higher, while tobacco sales rose by 5.1%. On a like-for-like basis total sales rose by 4.4%, non-tobacco sales by 3.8% and tobacco sales by 5.4%.
Total sales (excluding Makro) in the 24 weeks to 14 September 2012 rose by 3.3% on the same period last year. Non-tobacco sales were 4.2% higher, while tobacco sales rose by 2.0%. On a like-for-like basis total sales rose by 3.1%, non-tobacco sales by 3.8% and tobacco sales by 1.8%.
Booker Wholesale, our cash and carry division, had a good half. Customer satisfaction further improved, customer numbers were up and sales matched expectations.
Booker Direct, our delivered wholesale division, also had a good half. Ritter Courivaud, our speciality foods business, performed well. Classic, our on-trade wholesaler, had a good period and has been rolled out into a further five Booker branches. Chef Direct, the foodservice business we launched in January, is making good progress having secured several catering accounts.
In India our two branches in Mumbai and joint venture branch in Pune are performing as we planned. We are looking to open a further two branches in the second half.
We acquired Makro on July 4th. Makro has been struggling for the past few years and its performance in the past ten weeks has continued to be challenging. We notified the transaction to the OFT and the competition review process is ongoing. Until this review is complete, we are required to hold the Makro business separate from Booker, pursuant to undertakings given to the OFT in the normal way. Under accounting rules (IFRS 3), Makro will initially be held as an investment in Booker Group plc's balance sheet and will be consolidated into its financial statements once competition clearance is obtained.
The senior management of Booker and Makro are confident that, by working together, we will be able to improve choice, prices and service to the caterers, retailers and small and medium sized enterprises that we serve. We will be able to offer foods and non foods via the internet, delivery and cash and carry. This will help Booker Group in its ambition to become the UK's leading wholesaler.
As at 14 September 2012 net cash was £70m versus net cash of £59m a year ago. Following a good first half the outlook for the year as a whole remains unchanged.
Charles Wilson, Booker Chief Executive, said:
"Booker Wholesale and Booker Direct have had a good start to the year as we continue to improve choice, price and service. We are confident that once we have clearance from the competition authorities, Booker and Makro will be able to improve choice, prices and service for the caterers, retailers and small business in the UK. Makro will prove a good addition to the Booker Group"
Booker Group plc will announce interim results for the 24 weeks to 14 September 2012 on Thursday 18 October 2012. A presentation for analysts will be held at 08:30 on 18 October. For details call Rebecca Scott at Tulchan Communications on 020 7353 4200.
Note: Sales are stated net of value added tax
For further information contact:
Tulchan Communications (PR adviser to Booker Group plc)
020 7353 4200