AF Blakemore & Son has announced 19% sales growth to £1.19 billion for the year ending 1 May 2022. However, it reported a pre-tax loss of £3.3 million, down from a pre-tax profit of £6 million in the previous year.
“Our new Bedford depot 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 £17 million in our total logistics operation,” explained chairman Peter Blakemore.
“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 £3.3 million. Underlying pre-tax profit was £2 million after exceptional costs but, as always, our paramount interest is in ensuring the long-term interests of our customers.”
Commenting on the sales uplift, Blakemore said: “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 achieved an underlying EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization] of £20 million.
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 that the decisions made by AF Blakemore in 2021/22 have resulted in stable outbound supply, growth in new format propositions and the successful trial and roll-out of its new commercial system.
“Process improvement and investment in technology have 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,” he said.
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.”
Published Date: December 16, 2022