A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd Chairman, Peter Blakemore, has issued a positive trading update for the six periods to October 2022. “This year our sales have grown by 9% following sales growing by 19% last year. 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. 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.”
Despite unprecedented market wide supply chain upheaval, the group was pleased to report an underlying EBITDA of £20m.
“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.”
“Bedford is the cornerstone of our long-term supply chain strategy and was built and opened during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The development combined with significant labour shortages across the UK, required us to incur an unplanned £17m in our 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.”
CEO Jerry Marwood said: “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%, 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.” Marwood added: “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.”
Mr Blakemore added: “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.”