Wholesaler AF Blakemore & Son has revealed a 10.5 per cent rise in sales on the back of acquisition deals – and is set to break the £1 billion barrier next year.

The Willenhall-based firm took over fellow Spar wholesaler Capper & Co for £37.2 million earlier this year, which helped it to increase total sales to £912 million in the year to April 30.

Chairman Gwendoline Blakemore, in a statement, said like-for-like revenue rose to £878 million, compared to £815.8 million last year, while pre-tax profits rose to £9.5 million, compared to £600,000 last year.

It states: “The 7.65 per cent year on year increase to £878 million for sales from our existing operations was very pleasing in the face of challenging economic conditions.

“Increases in costs have been well contained wherever possible, but some costs were outside of the company’s control – motor fuel, for example, increased by £1.5 million or 28 per cent in the year.”

The firm said it was already realising “significant benefits” from merging Capper & Co, which was taken over in March, with EBITDA – earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation – of £8.8 million.

It said with the company on board for a full year it would have turned over £1.2 billion.

Meanwhile, net debt rose almost three-fold, from £21.5 million to £58.8 million, on the back of the activity in the past year.

The company, which is 70 per cent owned by Peter Blakemore, the grandson of founder Arthur Blakemore, saw staff costs rise from £72.9 million last year to £80.9 million, after seeing the total number employed rise from 5,449 last year to 5,809.