Food retailer and wholesaler Booker has hailed the progress of its Londis and Budgens chains after unveiling a jump in half-year profit.

The business posted a 9% uplift in pre-tax profit to £81m during the 24 weeks ending September 9 as it made “good progress” within its retail division.

Booker did not break out performance for Londis and Budgens, but said like-for-like non-tobacco sales edged up 0.1% across the group.

Tobacco sales slumped 5.6%, which Booker blamed on the “display ban” in its stores.

Despite that decline, total sales across the group advanced 13% to £2.5bn.

Booker said customer satisfaction was “strong” as it continued a drive to increase choice, sharpen prices and improve customer service.

However, it warned that the “challenging” market would persist throughout the next year.

Booker chief executive Charles Wilson described the six-month period as “a good half”.

He added: “We strive to improve choice, prices and service for our catering, retail and small business customers.

“Londis and Budgens joined the group last September and the turnaround of the businesses is going well.”