Wholesalers enjoyed bumper sales and results both for themselves and members, according to a raft of figures released after the busy Christmas period.

Seasonal trading updates brought good news from Booker, Bestway, Blakemore and Parfetts, the latter enjoying two record weeks, as part of strong results across much of the sector.

Booker posted an increase in total sales of 2.9% in the quarter to the end of December, with like-for-like sales up 3.2%, and non-tobacco sales up almost 5%. The group said Premier continues to grow, while Budgens and Londis were also “performing well”.

Chief executive Charles Wilson said: “Our plans to focus, drive and broaden Booker Group are on track.”

Meanwhile, Bestway saw fresh, chilled and food to go benefit from triple-digit growth and Best-one members enjoyed sales growth of 19% year on year in 2016.

Symbol development director at Bestway James Hall said: “Most retailers would bite your hand off for the level of growth that Best-one is achieving – double-digit growth in all categories including alcohol, confectionery and grocery and an 8% increase in tobacco sales.”

AF Blakemore’s sales increased by 2.4% to £1.31bn and profits rose 0.2%, which chairman Peter Blakemore said was a “pleasing steady result”.

Parfetts noted two record weeks in the run up to December 25, according to its figures for the five-week period covering Christmas, with sales growth of 12.5% excluding cigarettes.

Joint managing director Greg Suszczenia said: “We are very optimistic about the prospects for the year ahead.”

  • Multiples reported the best Christmas in the sector for four years, with sales in December up 3.3% year on year. Kantar Worldpanel said sales were up 1.8% in the final quarter – the fastest growth for more than two years, while Morrisons said sales in the last part of the year were up almost 3% and Tesco enjoyed like-for-like sales growth and increased market share.