Spar wholesaler and retailer AF Blakemore & Son is “energised and ready for the year ahead”, after a year of investment and reorganisation.

Blakemore truck

The business achieved sales of £1.1bn over the year ending 30 April, a 4.6% year-on-year rise, while pre-tax profit increased by 19.5% from £8.5m to £10.2m.

Chairman Peter Blakemore said the company’s performance had been “tremendous”, in a year that saw the company upgrade and buy new stores, improve logistics and develop its IT systems.

“We have continued to achieve positive growth across all channels and have carried out major reviews into all areas of our business to make sure we have the right strategies in place,” he said.

The company is also set to open a new 164,850 sq. ft purpose-built multi-temperature distribution warehouse in Bedford as it seeks to expand its retail, wholesale and foodservice operations.

AF Blakemore & Son signed a pre-let agreement on a 20-year lease for the distribution facility on Manton Lane and is due to take occupancy in 2021, subject to receiving planning permission.

Blakemore added: “This is another exciting development for A.F. Blakemore and reflects the confidence we feel in the company’s ability to grow in the markets it operates in. As a business, we are feeling energised and ready to take advantage of all the opportunities available in the rapidly changing market.

“The entire business is committed to our Blakemore Way values and we believe that profits should be re-invested within the business to benefit employees, customers and local communities.”

The group operates 281 Spar stores and and distributes food and drink to a further 687 independently-owned Spar stores in central England and Wales.

The company’s recent investments include the purchase of 22 Philpotts sandwich stores last February, which added further growth momentum to its existing fresh foods and foodservice business.