Profits at Spar wholesaler and retailer James Hall & Co fell by more than a quarter in the year ending March 2009, according to accounts filed at Companies House this week.

Turnover increased 2.9% to £351.8m in the period, but pre-tax profits slumped by 26% to £8.5m. Gross profit increased by nearly £0.5m, but this was outweighed by increases in distribution costs and administrative expenses.

The accounts also showed that James Hall had disposed of six stores over the year.

Its company-owned stores division G&E Murgatroyd reported that turnover had decreased by 3% to £13.2m in the same period, according to separate figures.

No separate pre-tax profits figure was available for the stores division and retail director Peter Dodding refused to comment on the results, other than to say they were "satisfactory".

James Hall is a rapidly expanding company it is in the process of building a 400,000 sq ft distribution centre on the outskirts of Preston. It expects to move into the new centre in early 2011, until when it will continue to trade from its current base in Preston, a 190,000 sq ft converted mill.

In June, the company spent more than £1m buying Ashberry Sandwiches, a sandwich manufacturer in Blackpool, and seven lorries. The acquisition allowed it to take control of its sandwich production, which had formerly been provided by Ashberry and Greencore in-house.