Deflation And Weak Consumer Demand Impacts Sales At Booker

Like-for-like sales at Booker continued to slide in the first quarter of its new financial year, impacted by falling food prices and weak consumer demand.

During the 12 weeks to 17 June 2016, the wholesaler’s total rose 10%, boosted by the Budgens and Londis chains it acquired last year. However, on a like-for-like basis (excluding Budgens & Londis) sales fell 2.9%. Non-tobacco sales were down 0.7%, whilst tobacco sales slipped 7.7% as the ban on small stores displaying tobacco products continued to take its toll.

The group added that Booker Direct, Chef Direct, Ritter and Booker India performed “as expected”. Meanwhile, it said that its Premier symbol chain continued to grow and it made “good progress” with the integration of Budgens and Londis.

Booker said that it remains on course to meet expectations for the full year with Charles Wilson, Chief Executive, upbeat about the group’s prospects: “Booker Group continues to make good progress. Our plans to Focus, Drive and Broaden Booker Group are on track. Budgens and Londis joined the Group last September and are making a solid contribution. We continue to enhance choice, price and service for our retail, catering and small business customers and look forward to growing with them in the year ahead.”

NAM Implications:
  • It is likely that deflation and weak consumer demand will continue post-Brexit
  • …also affecting Budgens and Londis full year results
  • Time for Booker NAMs to conduct what-ifs on that basis and modify trade strategies accordingly