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    A.F. Blakemore announces 19 per cent sales growth

    A.F. Blakemore's Bedford depot

    SPAR wholesaler A.F. Blakemore & Son has reported a 19 per cent increase in sales for the year ending 1 May 2022.

    The company has also issued a positive trading update for the six-month period to October 2022, with a sales growth of 9 per cent.

    “This has been delivered by a robust performance across our core SPAR network and our ability to use opportunities across recovery sectors such as travel and foodservice,” commented Peter Blakemore,chairman.

    “We also saw a steady return to growth for the Philpotts chain of prepared-food stores, while enabling an impressive performance from home delivery and quick commerce, where we were pivotal in helping this new channel scale-up.”

    The group reported an underlying EBITDA of £20 million, despite the unprecedented market wide supply chain upheaval.

    “Opening our new Bedford depot provides future supply chain security to all our trade partners and has at once enabled greater stock holding at a time where many manufacturers were struggling with inbound availability, which we know is critical to our independent partners,” Blakemore said.

    A.F. Blakemore announces 19 per cent sales growth

    He added that the Bedford depot, built and opened during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, is the cornerstone of their long-term supply chain strategy. The development, combined with significant labour shortages across the UK, required the group to incur an unplanned £17m in its total logistics operation.

    “Maintaining a high-level of supply chain performance required us to make a significant investment during this period and as a result, the group delivered a pre-tax loss of £3.3m, down from a pre-tax profit of £6m in the previous year. Underlying pre-tax profit was £2m after exceptional costs but as always, our paramount interest is in ensuring the long-term interests of our customers,” Blakemore said.

    Jerry Marwood, chief executive, added: “We have continued to perform well into this current year and after 24 weeks our sales for 2022/23 show a further growth of 9 per cent, when considering last year’s growth, this is a fantastic performance. Being an independent business means we can continue to invest even through the most challenging times.

    “The decisions we made in 2021/22 have resulted in stable outbound supply, growth in new format propositions and the successful trial and roll out of our new commercial system.

    “Process improvement and investment in technology has also delivered greater efficiency and a corresponding improvement in our base margin, however, given the macro-economic turmoil predicted in the next 18 months, we must continue to be vigilant and work hard to protect our customers interests.”

    Blakemore concluded: “The results for the year to May 2022 reflect a challenging time, however we believe that there is continued growth opportunity for a values-based business that invests for the long-term, within our industry.

    “I would like to thank colleagues, customers and supply partners for their hard work and support throughout the year.”

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