The Booker Group has announced a 3.1% decline in third quarter like-for-like sales, although Budgens and Londis are “settling in well”. 

The wholesaler attributed the 1.3% reduction in non-tobacco sales to food price deflation and weak consumer demand. It blamed the 6.9% drop in tobacco sales to the enforcement of the display ban on small stores.

Group sales including Budgens and Londis rose by 10.5% over the last 16 weeks of the year.

Charles Wilson, Booker chief executive, said: “Booker Group continued to make progress in a challenging market. Our plans to Focus, Drive and Broaden remain on track. Budgens and Londis are settling into the group well as we continue to improve choice, prices and service for all our customers.”

Steve Fox, managing director for Booker Group retail said: “We are pleased with the progress that our retail business has made. We have continued to focus on improving choice, price and service to help our customers make more profits. The retail channels of Premier, Family Shopper and Retail Club and the integration of Londis and Budgens is going well. I would like to thank our customers for choosing Booker.”

Booker acquired the Budgens and Londis brands from The Musgrave Group for £40m in 2015.