Belfast Telegraph

Booker sales boosted by Budgens and Londis takeover

Cash and carry group Booker saw sales boosted by its recently acquired Budgens and Londis chains as they helped offset the impact of falling food prices and a hit to consumer demand before the Brexit vote.

The group, which supplies 1.3 million independent retailers, said like-for-like sales excluding tobacco and the Budgens and Londis brands fell 0.7% in the 12 weeks to June 17 after many customers reported weak consumer demand.

Sales were also impacted by ongoing food price deflation amid a fierce supermarket price war.

But total group sales including its two new brands surged by 11.7% excluding tobacco, and chief executive Charles Wilson said Budgens and Londis made a "solid contribution".

Tobacco sales remained under pressure from the ban on small stores displaying products , slumping by 7.7% in the quarter on a like-for-like basis.

The group completed the £40 million takeover of Budgens and Londis from Irish food wholesaler Musgrave Group last September.

The deal saw it add 1,630 Londis stores and 167 franchised Budgens outlets to its existing 172-strong chain.

Booker also owns Makro, which it bought for £140 million in 2012, as well as brands including Family Shopper and Premier.

The group hopes the Budgens and Londis deal will boost its might in a difficult retail market, which has seen intense price cutting due to the growth of discounters Aldi and Lidl.