Upmarket grocer Booths has reported a 32 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to £6.9 million in its full-year results but warned of a “tightening economy”.
In figures filed at Companies House for the year to March 29, Booths recorded a 40 per cent uplift in operating profits to£9.7 million. Like-for-like sales for the same period were up 3.8 per cent.

In the statement, Booths chairman Edwin Booth said the retailer had achieved modest sales growth, but warned that the result “should be considered within the context of a tightening economy, within which many consumers fled to retailers whose forte is a discounted offering”.
Booths – which has 26 stores across the north of England and Scotland – said it has enriched its promotional offer, while not losing sight of its core strengths of “selling high quality food and drink in attractive stores with excellent service”.

It also said: “This has proved to be a sound approach as our trading margins have remained strong.”

In the period, the grocer continued its store refurbishment programme and launched a new web site to use as a promotional and communications tool. It is also working on rebuilding its Everywine.co.uk web site, which offers wine only, to include increased functionality.
Booth said in the statement: “Now that the effect of the global economic slowdown is being fully realised, we are ensuring that our business is being kept in good health for what will be a testing period of trading.”

He added that the construction of its Ripon (North Yorkshire) and Garstang (Lancashire) stores is under way, with openings planned for summer and early autumn 2009. The Hesketh Bank (Lancashire) store will open in spring 2010. The grocer is seeking new stores and Booth said he was “confident that we will be able to post a satisfactory result for the year 2008/09”.