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    Booker sees 8.1 per cent rise in sales in first quarter

    (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

    Grocery wholesaler Booker achieved an 8.1 per cent increase in sales to £2,276 million in its first quarter with retail sales rising up 6.3 per cent, stated Tesco last week.

    Excluding tobacco, retail sales grew by 15.6 per cent, “supported by strong availability and continued focus on choice, price and service, with a great range of promotions and access to fast-growing categories,” said a trading statement issued by Booker’s owner Tesco.

    Ken Murphy, chief executive of Tesco, commented on the “very strong growth” in Booker across both retail and catering. “It’s been successful in both parts of its market; catering particularly strong. The watchword here is not necessarily price per se, but value for money.

    “What Booker has been incredibly successful at doing is helping caterers manage the value-for-money equation, which is supplying great product and menu combinations that allow restaurants, pubs and bistros to maintain their margin but offer a great value proposition to customers, and they’re the customers that are particularly doing well in the market. And they’re customers that seem to be in a sweet spot with Booker and they’re driving mutual performance.”

    Catering sales, growing at 10.8 per cent, are significantly outpacing the market, added the statement, with the On-trade Club launched in May already serving 800 pubs and restaurants, building on the success of the Fast Food Club launched in 2021 – this now has around 28,000 customers as members.

    The trading statement also pointed out that catering customers benefited from a further price freeze on more than 500 products, introduced in March.

    Booker first quarter 2023 results were announced alongside Tesco’s when it was announced that it reported a 9 per cent rise in underlying UK sales in the said period of time. The group, which has an over 27 per cent share of Britain’s grocery market, made £2.49 billion in 2022-23.

    Read more: Tesco sees ‘encouraging signs’ inflation is easing

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