2018: No.49= - £100m
2017: No.44 - £100m
Changes in customer spending patterns, increased fuel costs, the National Living Wage and the apprenticeship levy are all combing to flatten performance at Willenhall-based food wholesalers A F Blakemore and Sons.
But the family-owned company, of which Peter Blakemore is chairman, still makes healthy profits - turning in £7.3 million in 2016, just a shade below the previous year. Turnover was £1.2 billion, down from £1.3 million.
Higher costs knocked £4 million off the company's figures, but it is still investing for future growth. It committed £19.2 million to improve its stores and business, and has earmarked a further £27.5 million for the current year.
Blakemore Retail, the SPAR convenience stores arm of Blakemore's, acquired County Stores out of administration in April 2017, saving nearly 80 jobs. County owned five businesses under the SPAR brand and these have joined the 300-plus existing SPAR businesses run by Blakemores.
Peter Blakemore is the third generation of Blakemores running the company, which has developed a culture which sets them apart from some other companies in the competitive food sector. In a nutshell, The Blakemore Way means treating colleagues, customers and the community which the company serves in a friendly and positive way.
The company has developed a business skills programme to help the business leaders of tomorrow, in collaboration with Barclays Corporate Banking. The programme identifies graduates and apprentices and helps them develop business skills.
Blakemore's plans to double the size of its distribution operation over the next few years, targeting key growth areas of Asia and the Middle East. The firm's SPAR retail division is also expanding. It has a partnership with Euro Garages which has 180 sites across the UK, and a joint venture with restaurant business Eat 17.
Peter Blakemore, 73, sits on the Business in the Community West Midlands Advisory Board and in 2009 was appointed Prince’s Ambassador for the West Midlands.
Blakemore’s is one of the biggest food supply companies in the UK and is also a key player in the Spar Group, running well over 300 Spar shops throughout the country through Blakemore Retail. The group also services nearly 1,000 Spar shops and is the largest member of the Landmark Wholesale Group. Peter Blakemore represents the UK on the Spar Food Distribution International Board.
Peter Blakemore, who lives in Wolverhampton, owns 70 per cent of the company which began life as a Wolverhampton grocers set up by his grandfather, Arthur Blakemore in 1917.
As well as its flagship £5 million wholesale division headquarters on Wolverhampton Science Park and its Willenhall company HQ and distribution centre, Blakemore’s has nine wholesale depots across the UK. The company also has a fresh foods division, an award-winning food service division, a shop-fitting division, a print business and its Blakemore Fine Foods distribution business.
The award-winning Blakemore Foundation benefits from two per cent of the company’s pre-tax profits and the firm has a well-established employee volunteering scheme.