Brakes has reported strong full-year sales, with growth in EBITDA and a continued fall in debt/EBITDA ratio.

The foodservice giant said EBITDA grew 7.1% to £150m in the year to 31 December 2014 on sales up 2.5% to £3.1bn. UK sales grew 5%.

Speaking to The Grocer, CEO Ken McMeikan said share had been ahead of the market in the UK & Ireland, France and Sweden ­during the year.

He attributed the performance to the continued growth of independent customers, accelerated growth in e-commerce - with sales of about £850m - and its highest win rate for corporate customers.

McMeikan added that trading in the fourth quarter had been particularly strong due to a “fantastic performance” over Christmas and new year. “Sweden had a phenomenal end to the year and France did superbly well in a tough market,” he added.

Debt levels had also been brought down, with debt/EBITDA ratio now at 6.5 x EBITDA versus 6.8 x in 2013 and 7.2 x in 2012.

Brakes has just completed the third year of its five-year £125m strategic plan, which has seen it reconfigure its depot network, improve IT, consolidate call centres and buy a majority stake in Fresh Direct.

McMeikan said this programme was on track but top-line growth was ahead of plan. It had already spent 82% (£102m) of the £125m, of which about £25m had been on IT. Three new depots opened in Reading, Warrington and Newhouse and a fourth is set to open in Harlow in mid-2015. Six smaller depots had closed, with five more due to close over the next two years.

He added that Brakes planned to grow e-commerce and was also focusing on rolling out multi-temperature deliveries in the UK. Only 20% of its deliveries in the UK are currently multi-temperature.