Sales at Bestway Cash & Carry rose 7.6% last year following the wholesaler's acquisitions of Bellevue and Martex.

Group sales jumped to £2.26bn in the year to June, with turnover in its wholesale business up 7.5% to £2.14bn.

Unveiling the figures at Bestway's Retail Development Awards, held last week in London, CEO Zameer Choudrey said that as well as the acquisitions, which gave Bestway a much greater presence in Scotland, more independent retailers were joining its symbol group.

During the past 12 months, the wholesaler's Best-in and Xtra Local club membership had increased to 2,334, Best-One was on its way to almost 900 members, and its Pet retail club membership had increased to 428.

"Our focus remains on building business for the independents," Choudrey said. "Our customers have always been our main priority and that is why we are constantly looking at new products and initiatives."

Choudrey also revealed that Bestway had secured a site for a new depot, in Gateshead. The £6m, 80,000 sq ft depot is on the site of a former printing works and will serve customers in the Newcastle area. A number of energy saving heating, ventilation, refrigeration and lighting devices will also be installed to help Bestway keep its carbon emissions as low as possible. It is expected to create more than 75 jobs and will open in the spring.

"We have been keen to expand further in the north and this opening will enable us to reach more customers in this region who are having to travel further to reach us currently," he said. "We are also pleased to be in a position to bring the region a significant number of new job opportunities."

Last week Bestway ­revealed it had secured a depot in Brighton, East Sussex. It also opened a state-of-the-art cash & carry in Aintree in October last year. "As we celebrate 35 years in wholesale, we continue to invest in the business," Choudrey added.