Booker has released a cheery set of New Year figures with sales for the 16 weeks to January 4 up 3.1% on the same period last year.

Non-tobacco sales were 4.2% higher, while tobacco sales rose by 1.3%.

Fresh departments also performed well, with fruit and vegetable sales up 30% on the same period last year.

“The market remains challenging for our independent retail customers, however we have made good progress.” said Steve Fox, sales director for retail. “Our own-brands of Euro Shopper and Happy Shopper have also delivered strong growth.”

Premier has also had a good quarter, which saw the introduction of our new forecourt concept that has been welcomed by forecourt retailers,” he added.

The Competition Commission is currently reviewing Booker’s acquisition of Makro on July 4. The business is being held as separate from the rest of Booker until the review is complete.

Makro’s performance over the last quarter had been “challenging”, Booker chief executive Charles Wilson said. However, he was “excited about the opportunities” that the two companies coming together would bring.