Booker has reported a small rise in sales in its fourth-quarter, with growth being dragged down by falling tobacco sales.

The wholesaler and retailer, which is set to be acquired by Tesco, reported like-for-likes of 0.7% while total sales grew 0.5% in the 12 weeks to March 24.

However, its falling tobacco sales dragged down growth significantly.

Non-tobacco like-for-likes were up 4.7% while total non-tobacco sales were up 4.5%. The group said that this was due to the existing tobacco display ban and the plain packaging rules which are currently being introduced.

Stores under the Budgens and Londis fascias, which Booker acquired from Musgrave almost two years ago, “performed well”, while its Indian arm “continued to make progress”. Internet sales, excluding Budgens and Londis, grew 8% to £233m.

Booker said that its total sales were up 6.7% to £5.3bn in the 52 weeks to March 24 while like-for-like non-tobacco sales were up 2.8%.

The wholesale giant is set to be acquired by Tesco, in a move which stunned the industry earlier this year and attracted the attention of the competition authorities.

Booker chief executive Charles Wilson said: “On 27 January we announced the planned merger with Tesco. We are excited about the benefits the enlarged group will bring to consumers, our customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders.

“The merger is going through the competition process. Meanwhile it is business as usual as we continue to improve choice, prices and service for our retail, catering and small business customers.”