Storms and competition hits Booths’ sales

INDEPENDENT Lancashire-based grocer Booths said its like-for-like sales over Christmas has been hit by the ultra-competitive retail market and by the severe floods in its Northern heartlands.

The upmarket family-owned grocer, which has 30 stores in Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and also in Yorkshire, has yet to reopen its Keswick supermarket so severe was the flooding last month.

Like-for-like sales fell 1.4% during the three weeks from December 13 to Janauary 2, but the recent new store openings meant overall sales were up 5.9%. The figures do not include a contribution from Keswick, whcih was closed on December 5, although a pop-up shop selling essential items has been established.

Preston-based Booths said it had seen a  jump in Christmas home delivery orders, up 54% nationwide and overall orders, including click and collect in store orders rose by 11%.

Chief executive Chris Dee said: “There’s much to be proud of at Booths this Christmas, and I’m not just talking about the financials, our people have excelled.  Our teams worked with typical Northern grit to cope with the twin demands of a challenging retail climate and devastating weather conditions.”

“The Booths culture comes into its own in times of need and we managed trade well, keep stores open with good availability, successfully deliver our offer nationwide and support staff, customers and communities affected by the severe weather.

“The rise in demand nationwide for a Booths Christmas is particularly gratifying, confirming that Booths is a trusted brand with significant appeal outside our region.  Quality is core to the Booths offer and we have the advantage and privilege to work with some of the best farmers and food producers in the country.”

During the festive period Booths’ meat sales were up 33%, turkeys were up by 12% and Christmas trimmings rose by 55%. Sales of craft beer rose by 7% and sales of Booths own label wines rose by 42%, buoyed by the introduction of the Booths Prosecco Magnum.