Appleby Westward, the Spar distributor for South West stores, has reported its best summer sales figures for four years.

The company recorded a 7% year-on-year sales increase in the 13 weeks up to the August Bank Holiday, driven by strong performances in produce, meat and fish.

“This is our best summer performance for four years,” said Appleby’s managing director Mark McCammond. “Record trading weeks in late July saw some individual weekly performances up by as much as 24% year on year.”

Sales of produce soared by 40%, driven by “excellent sales” of fresh British strawberries and other seasonal soft fruit, while meat, chicken and fish saw growth of 30% on the back of the new Spar ‘higher welfare’ British poultry range, McCammond said.

“Our new Spar brand summer eating range has also contributed to the successful summer period, and I would urge our retailers to focus strongly on their fresh food participation going forward – it’s a proven winner,” he added.

Mark Canniford, who owns two Spar stores in Weston-super-Mare, said: “Produce and chilled availability has been very good which has helped us to have a very good season – sales were up 11% in our high street store and 22% in our shop in Loxton Road.”

Overall Appleby Westward’s year-on-year sales growth is 4.7% to date.