The wholesaler Booker Group, which Tesco is looking to buy for £3.7bn, said like-for-like sales rose 4.2 per cent in its first quarter, helped by favourable weather and the late Easter.
Non tobacco sales grew by 9.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the 12 weeks to 16 June, the company said. Tobacco sales continued to be adversely impacted by changes in tobacco legislation, and were down 7.9 per cent on the same basis.
Analysts at HSBC had expected non-tobacco like-for-like sales growth to come in at around 5 per cent for the third quarter running.
Charles Wilson, chief executive of Booker Group, said: “This was a good quarter. Our plans to Focus, Drive and Broaden the Group are on track. On 27 January we announced the planned merger with Tesco and we are going through the competition process.
“Meanwhile business as usual is going well as we continue to improve choice, prices and service for our retail, catering and small business customers.”