Blakemore has reported an 18% sales increase over the four week period ending 2nd January, with the wholesaler putting the performance down to the additional capacity generated from its new, purpose-built distribution centre in Bedford.
The news comes as the business begins a transitional period for its leadership team, with group managing directors Geoff Hallam and Jerry Marwood retiring at the end of the financial years 2022 and 2023 respectively. Marwood will take over group chief executive responsibilities following Hallam’s retirement and implement a succession plan for 2023.
Commenting on the performance over Christmas, chairman Peter Blakemore commented: “Much of the sector had forecast a challenging operating period with predictions of supply chain failures impacting availability and the ongoing Covid pandemic affecting staffing levels. Without doubt, Covid continues to impede colleague availability however by investing and putting importance on our people capability, it has enabled us to continue to operate as normal despite Covid related absenteeism, which were similar to peak pandemic levels.
Read more: Blakemore predicts post-pandemic growth despite 5% sales drop
“Christmas stock management required tactical stock builds, centralisation of supply and backhaul for our suppliers; but inbound supply is still sitting six-percentage points below outbound. With our highest recorded case volume on New Year’s Eve and a forecasted 20% growth in sales by the end of the financial year, we need suppliers to invest in mitigating these issues to improve availability,” he added.