Tesco’s intended acquisition Booker has reported a jump in profits in its first half, although its sales rise was dampened by plummeting demand for tobacco.

The convenience chain recorded a 9% jump in pre-tax profit to £88m in the 24 weeks to September 8 driven by a 2.7% rise in like-for-like sales.

Changes in tobacco legislation have impacted sales in the category, which were down 9% overall and 8.7% on a like-for-like basis during the period.

Excluding tobacco, like-for-like sales were up 7.7% and overall sales increased 7.5%.

Booker, who’s pending acquisition by Tesco is being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was opposed by seven of the UK’s biggest wholesalers earlier this month, posted an 11% rise in online sales to £560m.

Chief executive Charles Wilson said: “Booker Group continues to make good progress with like-for-like non tobacco sales up 7.7%.

Our plans to focus, drive and broaden Booker Group are on track.

“The competition review of the planned merger with Tesco is progressing. We continue to help our retail, catering and small business customers prosper through improving our choice, prices and service.”