JJ Food Service is hoping to defy the credit crunch by opening new depots and offering discounts. It has just opened a new depot in Manchester and plans to open another in Basingstoke by November.

Meanwhile, as most businesses try to force through price increases, JJ has reacted to the soaring cost of diesel by introducing average discounts of 20% for customers who pick up their own goods.

The company – which also has depots in Enfield, Birmingham and Doncaster – now has more than 800 staff and claims to be the largest privately owned food distribution service in the UK. The new depots each cost about £4m to get up and running and 40 trucks have been added to its fleet, said a spokesman.

Last year, the company recorded a pre-tax profit of £4.9m on sales of £103.1m. Its profit margin was 4.8%, the second-highest in The Grocer’s Big 30 ranking.