News this morning that Tesco is buying Booker Group in a £3.7bn mega-deal was a bolt from the blue. We take a closer look at the wholesale business.

  • Founded in 1835, Booker began life under George and Richard Booker as Booker Line, focused on shipping goods. It later diversified into distribution and began its focus on wholesale.
  • Its cash and carry business includes 172 Booker branches and 28 Makro stores. The two chains have combined annual sales of £3.2bn.
  • While the FTSE 250 business is associated with supplying convenience stores, it also supplies a number of high street restaurants, eateries and caterers.
  • The restaurant chains it supplies include: Byron, Carluccios, Odeon, Prezzo, Rick Stein and Wagamamas.
  • Today, its multiple convenience brands operate via a franchise model through which independent retailers trade.
  • Over 5,000 stores trade under its Premier, Londis, Budgens and Family Shopper banners. However, it only owns six of these shops.
  • It serves 1.3m customers every year across convenience and restaurants.
  • Its last full-year results were mainly positive. Total sales rose 5% in the year to March 25, 2016, but like-for-likes dipped 1.9%. Operating profit was up 11% and profit after tax up 9%.
  • It has had nine consecutive years of EBIT growth.
  • Booker has one national distribution centre and three regional distribution centres.
  • It has 13,000 employees, compared to Tesco’s 300,000 staff.
  • The merger would see Tesco have potential access to 8,000 click-and-collect sites.