Appleby Westward has achieved record service levels to retailers over the past 13 weeks, helped by the settled summer weather.

The South West Spar distributor recorded 98.5% product availability compared with nearly 98.2% over the same period last year. Deliveries of chilled products have run at 99.7% since March, with some weeks peaking at 100%.

It has also announced a significant sales increase over recent weeks, with ambient sales up 19% year-on-year for the five-week period until early July, and chilled and frozen up 15%.

Appleby attributed the performance to the consistent spell of warm weather, the company’s investment in a more advance fleet of vehicles, and the introduction of a new telesales function.

Managing director Mark McCammond said: “We have maintained service levels above 98% for the last two years and are offering a consistently reliable first class service to our retailers.

“We introduced a telesales operation in the spring and that has enhanced our service to retailers and presented them with a real incremental opportunity, while our investment last year in new vehicles to meet demand has also started to pay dividends.

“Our focus remains strongly on growing our fresh food business, introducing exciting new store formats and recruiting new stores to the business.”