Sales of fruit and vegetables in Londis stores have increased by 66% in the past year as the number of stores stocking fresh food has shot up.

Some 1,296 Londis stores now participate in the category, a 79% increase on the 725 which did so when the Londis Fresh initiative was launched a year ago. The above-target performance also saw sales in meat, fish and poultry categories more than double.

Among the star performers in June and July were British strawberries, with some 19,000 punnets sold in a three-week period. A core range of new lines, including Florette salad bags and fruit, have been introduced for the first time and current promotions include '2 for £1' on iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber, plus £1 deals on plums, nectarines, peaches and Honeydew melons.

Londis Fresh, which introduced new stock picking methods at a purpose-built warehouse, offers up to six-day-a-week delivery via a more environmentally friendly refrigerated fleet and is intended to help retailers manage their fresh offering effectively by maximising the products' shelf life and minimising wastage.

Londis sales director Paul Courtney said: "Fresh is a major milestone for Londis and I'm proud to say that it's now our biggest growth area."