Blakemore’s group sales for the financial year ending 24 April dropped by 5% from the previous year, falling from £1.053bn to £1.001bn. Chairman Peter Blakemore, however, described the past twelve months as a year of good progress and has predicted growth post-pandemic.
The company’s pre-tax profits matched 2019/20, at £6.1m while shareholders’ funds and net assets rose from £85.7m to £98.6m.
Blakemore commented: “I am pleased to report that the company made good progress during the period to 24 April 2021, when the business had to meet a full year of unprecedented challenges caused by the Covid‑19 pandemic.
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“As a result of great customer service and an investment in pricing, we enjoyed good sales across our community-based Spar convenience stores, with consumers shopping more locally, and whilst less frequently, with a higher basket spend.
“Our teams worked hard to maintain robust service levels both in-store and across our distribution network throughout the financial year.”
Blakemore has made various investments into the business over the last 18 months, such as a purpose-built distribution depot in Bedford and continued implementation of the store cluster strategy across its Spar retail estate.
The company has rolled out its own-brand County Bridge fresh meat range to independent retailers, expanded its home delivery service across company-owned stores and invested in new online ordering platforms for its customers.
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Sales in the first quarter of 2021/22 were up 12% ahead of the prior year, a result of retention of convenience store volumes, strong recovery of Covid-impacted channels, and growth from new client accounts, according to A.F. Blakemore.
Blakemore added: “As a result of our strong sales performance and investment in our infrastructure, I believe that the business is well positioned to navigate the current supply chain challenges and to deliver our growth aspirations.
“I would like to thank colleagues, customers and supply partners for their hard work and support throughout the past year in ensuring we have both the expertise and resilience to supply food and services to the communities that we serve in these everchanging times.”