Any business wanting to learn the art of earning extra revenue from passing trade should stop off at Westmorland’s service station in Gloucester and ask about the £92m it has pulled in last year.
Okay, that amount has also come from the family firm’s other service station off the M6 in Cumbria, but a growth in profits from £3.6m to £6.1m is no mean achievement.
Its turnover was up from £71.8m in 2015 and the leap partly reflected this was the first time the full-year of trading from the M5 service station in Gloucestershire, with the southbound services having opened in May 2015 and the northbound services in May 2014.
It also saw Cairn Lodge’s first full year of trading under Westmorland’s ownership. The business said it had “experienced strong underlying performance, with each of its operations seeing growth in both turnover and profit on the previous year”.
Sarah Dunning, chief executive officer, said: “We have developed and strengthened our offer in our farmshops and kitchens, resulting in strong trading.
“Work with local and independent producers has remained a priority; Gloucester and Tebay Services each have an established network of around 130 local producers, within 30 miles of the services.
“Over half of what we spend with retail and catering suppliers is locally or regionally sourced and that commitment to local allows emerging local businesses to flourish.”
Gloucester Services was named Britain’s ‘best newcomer’ in the Observer Food Monthly Awards and HRH The Prince of Wales opened Gloucester Services southbound in summer 2015.
Elsewhere in the group, its Rheged centre has continued to develop its cultural programme, winning Gallery of the Year in Cumbria Life’s Culture Awards in 2016.
Tebay Services Hotel has continued to make developments and recently undergone a refurbishment of a number of bedrooms.
In order for the business to continue with its development and to sustain its growth, it has decided to strengthen its team, particularly with the operational skills required to run a bigger business.
As a result, it is appointing a chief executive with a strong retail and operational background and looks forward to welcoming Rob Swyer into the new role in April 2017.
Mr Swyer started his career in manufacturing and buying with Mars and has since enjoyed a successful career in retail with Asda, Pets at Home and most recently as Retail Director with Halfords.
Ms Dunning will move to the role of chairman. Bryan Gray will remain with the business as non-executive director and and Laurence King will become vice chairman.
Ms Dunning said: “The economic outlook for 2017 is not without its challenges. However, the business remains positive and will continue to develop its offer.”