Eighth year of profit growth
Musgrave, the Budgens and Londis franchise operator, revealed that pre-tax profit soared 14.2 per cent to Eu81 million (£55.5 million) last year, in its eighth successive year of profit growth.

Budgens and Londis brands both performed well, with turnover of Eu2.6 billion (£1.78 billion) in the 52 weeks to December 31. Sales at Budgens rocketed 88 per cent, with like-for-likes up 5 per cent. Londis unveiled a 4 per cent growth in like-for-likes. Musgrave said: 'The strategy to sell company-owned Budgens stores to independent retailers continues apace with 59 stores sold last year.'

Group sales also rose 4.5 per cent to Eu4.6 billion (£3.15 billion), of which Eu4.1 billion (£2.81 billion) is attributed to retail brands and Eu500 million ($342.5 million) to cash and carry and foodservice.

Musgrave chief executive Chris Martin said: 'The investment in our brands, together with the approach of our entrepreneurial retail partners, is generating sales growth in all our markets. In the UK, this is illustrated by the success of the sale of company-owned Budgens stores to independent retailers that are attracted to our business model.

'We will continue to expand our business by adding stores in our core markets. We look forward to the coming year with confidence.'