Booker hikes dividend as sales rise

Food wholesaler Booker Group's total sales rose to £2.6bn for the 24 weeks to 8 Sep - up 2.5% on last time with non tobacco up 7.5% and tobacco down 9.0% due to changes in legislation.

Like-for-like sales rose by 2.7% with non tobacco like-for-like sales up 7.7%, and tobacco like-for-like sales down 8.7%.

Operating profits rose by 9% to £89.1m and pre-tax profits were also up 9% at £88.0m.

After-tax profits were up 10% at £74.7m.

Basic earnings per share were up 9% at 4.19p and the group declared an interim dividend of 0.69p per share - up 10%.

Chief executive Charles Wilson said: 'Booker Group continues to make good progress with like-for-like non tobacco sales up 7.7%.

'Our plans to Focus, Drive and Broaden Booker Group are on track.

'The competition review of the planned merger with Tesco is progressing.

'We continue to help our retail, catering and small business customers prosper through improving our choice, prices and service.'