AF Blakemore & Son chairman Peter Blakemore has stressed how the company’s long-term strategic investment plan is enabling it to maximise future growth opportunities across the convenience, wholesale and specialist food sectors.
His comments follow the announcement of financial results for the year to 30 April, during which the company’s sale of its cash & carry business enabled it to develop its SPAR retail and wholesale operations.
Over this period, pre-tax profit of the retained parts of the West Midlands concern was £8.5 million on sales of £1.06 billion. And in the first 28 weeks of the current year, sales of continuing operations rose by 7.5%.
Blakemore said: “The cash & carry sale process has, understandably, had a significant impact on the overall financial performance of the company, which achieved sales of £1.26 billion and recorded a loss of £18.8 million after tax, with all cash & carry suppliers paid in full.
“I am also happy to say that 50% of our employees from the cash & carry operation maintained their employment, either with AF Blakemore or with the purchasing businesses.”
While exceptional provisions of £18 million were made as a result of the cash & carry sale, the process generated £17 million of surplus cash, most of this to be received during the present financial year. Long-term debt has been cut and the net asset value of the company’s balance sheet has been reduced from £88.7 million to £74.5 million.
The corporate plan includes lower prices for retail customers, innovative store formats and investment in the IT infrastructure.
Blakemore services 1,013 SPAR stores, 282 of which are company-owned.