Exclusive Julian Hunt At least seven depots will be opened by Bestway next year, as the cash and carry group accelerates its growth programme. Chairman Sir Anwar Pervez believes there could be room for as many as 40 Bestway depots. However, he admits the group's ambitious plans were stymied this year by difficulties acquiring sites ­ it only managed to open in Bolton and Peterbrough. "Land is very difficult to find and prices are very high. Property developers are not prepared to sell unless you pay stupid prices ­ and even then the land is not always available." But Sir Anwar said Bestway now had five sites that were "signed and sealed and building at the moment". The group will open in Stoke-on-Trent next March, in Nuneaton and Stockport in April, Exeter next May and in Plymouth next June. Sir Anwar has another two sites in the pipeline, and also revealed he was looking at Blackburn and Birmingham. But he again ruled out the likelihood of Bestway moving north of the border ­ saying that would only be feasible through the acquisition of a chain of cash and carries. The confirmed site building programe for next year will bring the number of Bestway depots up to 29. "After that, I don't know," said Sir Anwar, "It depends on the land available. I am not as optimistic as I was last year about opening new depots. But that does not mean we are going to slow down growth." As well as its focus on cash and carry, the group is launching delivered wholesale services for retailers, has formed the Best-one symbol group and recently bought Euroimpex, a drinks distributor serving the ontrade. Bestway's chairman said group sales hit £862m in the year to June, up from £735m the year before. The group expects to hit £950m in the current financial year. {{NEWS }}