Booker has reported an uplift in its Christmas sales amid Tesco’s takeover bid as flagging demand for tobacco failed to offset growth.

The wholesale supplier, which is set to be acquired by Tesco early this year, reported a 3.4% rise in total sales year on year in the 16 weeks to December 29, driven by a 3.8% jump in like-for-likes.

The convenience retail group’s total and like-for-like sales excluding tobacco rose 5.9% and 6.2% respectively, driven by a 14% increase in online sales, excluding Budgens and Londis, to £381m.

Booker’s overall tobacco sales fell 2.6% overall and were down 2.1% on a like-for-like basis.

The wholesaler last month added petrol station groups Shell and MRH’s respective forecourt businesses to the roster of retail chains it supplies.

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.”