LONDON, March 30 Booker, the British
wholesaler that in January agreed to be taken over by Tesco
for 3.7 billion pounds ($4.60 billion), said on
Thursday sales growth had eased in its fourth quarter, with
tobacco sales dented by a display ban and plain packaging
The firm, which supplies the Budgens, Londis, Happy Shopper
and Premier convenience chains and also operates cash and carry
business Makro, said group sales rose 0.5 percent in the 12
weeks to March 24, while like-for-like sales were up 0.7
That compares to like-for-like sales growth of 3.2 percent
in the previous quarter.
Booker also faced tougher year-on-year comparative numbers
in the fourth quarter, while Easter also falls later this year.
Prior to the update, analysts' average forecast was for a
pretax profit of 171.3 million pounds ($212.9 million) for the
2016-17 year, up from 150.8 million pounds in 2015-16, according
to Reuters data.
Booker said it is currently going through the competition
process relating to Tesco's offer, announced on Jan. 27.
It said it will not be making forward looking statements for
the duration of the offer period.
($1 = 0.8044 pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey, editing by David Evans)