Booker, the food and drink wholesaler, has reported a 4.4% rise in like-for-like sales in the 12 weeks to 14 September, with total sales up 4.3%, excluding the Makro business that it acquired on 4 July. Like-for-like non-tobacco sales were up 3.8% (total sales: +3.9%) and tobacco like-for-likes grew 5.4% (total sales: +5.1%). Sales across the 24 weeks to 14 September were up 3.3%, and 3.1% on a like-for-like basis. “Following a good first half the outlook for the year as a whole remains unchanged,” Booker said. The firm said Booker Wholesale, its cash and carry division, “had a good half”. “Customer satisfaction further improved, customer numbers were up and sales matched expectations.” Booker Direct, its delivered wholesale division, “also had a good half”, the company said. “Ritter Courivaud, our speciality foods business, performed well. Classic, our on-trade wholesaler, had a good period and has been rolled out into a further five Booker branches. “Chef Direct, the foodservice business we launched in January, is making good progress having secured several catering accounts.” Booker said the performance of Makro has “continued to be challenging” in the past 10 weeks. The business is being held separate from Booker until the acquisition gains clearance from the Office of Fair Trading; Booker said the competition review process is “on-going”. As at 14 September 2012 net cash was £70m versus net cash of £59m a year ago. Meanwhile, Booker said its three branches “are performing as we planned” and it’s looking to open a further two branches in the second half.