Food and drink wholesaler Booker has reported a 7.4% increase in like-for-like sales for the 12 weeks to 17 June and said it was on course to meet expectations for the year. In an interim management statement the group said that total sales rose by 9.5% on the same period last year, with non-tobacco sales up by 9.1% (5.7% on a like-for-like basis) and tobacco sales up by 10.1% (10.1% on a like-for-like basis). Charles Wilson, chief executive, said: “ The first 12 weeks included the impact of Easter phasing, an extra bank holiday, favourable weather and a large increase in tobacco duty. After a good start we anticipate that Booker is on course to meet expectations for the year ending 30 March 2012. "Booker continues to make good progress with like-for-like non-tobacco sales up 5.7% in quarter one. We are helping 459,000 independent businesses compete by improving choice, having competitive prices and enhancing service in this challenging economic environment.” In May, the wholesaler said it had reached its target of operating as many Buzz Bars, which let free-trade licensees compete on drinks prices with major managed operators, as there are JD Wetherspoon pubs. Currently 800 pubs have been converted to the Buzz Bar format. Under the scheme, free-of-tie operators sell discounted drinks brands at prices set by Booker while still maintaining a minimum GP per product.