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Makro trading 'challenging' post-Booker deal

Wholesaler Booker Group said today (20 September 2012) trading at Makro UK had been "challenging" since its £140m acquisition in the summer.

In May, Wellingborough-based Booker swooped for the rival wholesaler in a shares and cash deal which valued Makro at just under £140m. The Office of Fair Trading is currently reviewing the deal. Until the investigation is complete, the company is required to hold the Makro business separate from Booker.

In a trading update to the Stock Exchange this morning, Booker said: "Makro has been struggling for the past few years and its performance in the past ten weeks has continued to be challenging.

"The senior management of Booker and Makro are confident that, by working together, we will be able to improve choice, prices and service to the caterers, retailers and small and medium-sized enterprises that we serve.

"We will be able to offer foods and non foods via the internet, delivery and cash and carry. This will help Booker Group in its ambition to become the UK's leading wholesaler."

Total sales for Booker, excluding Makro, in the 24 weeks to 14 September rose by 3.3 per cent on the same period in 2011. Non-tobacco sales were 4.2 per cent higher, while tobacco sales rose by 2 per cent.

On a like-for-like basis, total sales rose by 3.1 per cent, non-tobacco sales by 3.8 per cent and tobacco sales by 1.8 per cent.

Booker chief executive Charles Wilson said: "Booker Wholesale and Booker Direct have had a good start to the year as we continue to improve choice, price and service.

"We are confident that once we have clearance from the competition authorities, Booker and Makro will be able to improve choice, prices and service for the caterers, retailers and small business in the UK. Makro will prove a good addition to the Booker Group."

Source : Insider Media

20 September 2012
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