Retail news round-up on April 4, 2014: Booker Group sees sales soar, Tesco finance boss may leave, High Street outperforms retail parks, Walgreens sales grow 3.5%

Booker Group sees full-year sales soar 17.3%

The UK’s largest cash-and-carry chain Booker Group recorded a 17.3% year-on-year increase in its total sales, including Makro, to £4.7bn for the full-year ended March 28, Reuters reported. The sales growth was mainly driven by demand for non-tobacco products. The company also added new customers in its wholesale division. Profit was in line with expectations for the 12 months.

Tesco’s finance boss Laurie McIlwee may leave supermarket group

Tesco’s finance director Laurie McIlwee could quit as early as next week as the UK’s largest supermarket chain is likely to report another plunge in profitability on April 16, according to the Financial Times, citing two people familiar with the situation. McIlwee had also reportedly clashed with chief executive Philip Clarke over some areas of strategy.

High street outperforms retail parks and shopping centres on re-occupancy front

According to accountancy firm Deloitte’s new research, the high street is outstripping retail parks and shopping centres when it comes to re-occupying empty shops, BBC News reported. Only one in five high street stores affected by the biggest retail collapses of the last five years is still vacant. The study also found that the high street was ‘showing great resilience’

The firm analysed data from 27 major company administrations since 2009, many where it had an involvement in the process. Then, using data from the Local Data Company, it traced the fate of nearly 5,900 shops.

Deloitte found that the average vacancy rate for the high street is 20%, but it increases to 29% for shopping centres and 37% for retail parks. Convenience stores, including those run by supermarkets, have also expanded strongly, accounting for nearly 12% of the space, with close to three-quarters of them on high streets.

Walgreen sees same-store sales grew 3.5% in March

Walgreen’s same-store sales surged 3.5% in March from a year ago, as higher pharmacy sales offset weaker front-end results, Fox Business reported. Same-store sales in the pharmacy section increased 8%, while same-store prescriptions filled improved 5.1%. Pharmacy sales accounted for 65% of total sales for the month. Total drugstore sales jumped 4.5% to $6.43bn. During March, same-store sales declined 3.4% in the front-end of the store. Same-store customer traffic fell 4%, while basket size rose 0.6%.