AF Blakemore & Son has posted a 7.4% increase in profits and a 5% sales rise for the 2013/14 financial year.

The West Midlands-based Spar distributor and retail group recorded annual sales of £1.19bn, with pre-tax profits up from £7.1m to £7.6m in 2013/14. 

Chairman Gwendoline Blakemore said the company was beginning to reap the rewards from its price reduction strategy to help maintain sales in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

The company has also built on 2011’s acquisition of fellow Spar wholesale Capper & Co, with the purchase of Lowries Cash & Carry and its three depots in the North of England and two BA Cash & Carry depots, based in South Wales, during 2013/14.

She said that, while trading conditions would continue to be difficult, there had been recent signs of growth in the economy with growing consumer confidence.

The chairman added: “The food retailing scene has been in a state of turmoil over the past 12-months as retailers struggle to adapt to changing market conditions.

“The convenience retail food market continues to grow as consumers shop more frequently locally and less at large hypermarkets. There is however growing competition in this market as the major multiples continue to open new stores.

“We have continued to invest in the future of our Spar independent retailers and it has been encouraging to see Spar achieving many trade wins during the past 12 months with new store designs and formats.”