Booker generated a like-for-like sales rise of 4.2% in its first quarter as its strategy paid off.

The wholesaler and retailer, which intends to merge with Tesco, reported total sales up 4%.

Non tobacco sales climbed 9.6% like-for-like in the period to June 16, helped by good weather and the late timing of Easter. Tobacco sales, hit by legislative changes, were down 7.9% like-for-like.

Booker chief executive Charles Wilson 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.”

Because the proposed deal with Tesco means that Booker is in an offer period under Takeover Code rules, it did not make any forward-looking statement.