The Booker Group has announced a rise in total like-for-like sales of 3.8%, during the 16 weeks to December 29 2017.

The wholesaler reported a rise in non tobacco like-for-like sales, up 6.2%. However, tobacco continued to struggle, down 2.1% in like-for-like sales across the group.

Booker’s catering and retail businesses showed good progress during the 16 weeks including the Christmas period. The Premier fascia continued to see growth, with internet sales across the group increasing by 14% to £381m (excluding Budgens and Londis).

The UK wholesaler said it was ’proud to have commenced the supply to Shell and MRH forecourt businesses in December 2017’, following the collapse of wholesaler Palmer and Harvey.

Booker chief executive Charles Wilson said: “Booker Group had another good quarter with like-for-like non tobacco sales up 6.2%. We continue to focus, drive and broaden our business to improve choice, prices and service for our customers. The proposed merger with Tesco is progressing as planned. We are very grateful for the support we have received from customers, suppliers, shareholders and colleagues during this process.”

On December 20 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its decision granting unconditional clearance to the Tesco-Booker merger. A shareholder vote to approve the deal is expected to take place at the end of February.

Booker managing director of retail Steve Fox said: “We are pleased with our retail performance and we had a good Christmas. We worked hard with suppliers and maintain strong availability and remain committed to helping our customers ‘make more and save more’. It is a privilege to be serving Shell and MRH and I am confident we can continue to help our customers prosper.”