Blakemore Trade Partners has announced new investment in its development team to help recruit new retailers.

Six new members of staff have joined the business’s store development team since the beginning of January, increasing numbers from 15 to 21.

Blakemore Trade Partners development director Louis Drake said: “Blakemore Trade Partners enjoyed a record year for store recruitment in its 2014/15 financial year, welcoming 89 new sites to its independent estate.

“The expansion of our development team will help us to deal with this increased level of inbound stores, support retailers through the process of developing their businesses and ensure that our high level of customer service is maintained moving forwards.

“The additional manpower will also enable the business to increase the number of smaller store improvement and development projects that it carries out this financial year. Retailers involved in development projects will get their stores enhanced faster, helping to increase sales and profitability across our independent estate.”

He said that as a result of the expansion of the team, Blakemore Trade Partners will also be able to implement its store formats programme faster, inspiring other retailers to invest and new retailers to join the group.

The Blakemore Trade Partners development team oversees the recruitment of new independent retailers and is responsible for supporting them through the process of developing their businesses. The team also provides retailers with free merchandising support, including the implementation of planograms and installation of imagery.

In addition to expanding the Development team, Blakemore Trade Partners has appointed a new development manager from within the business who will be responsible for managing store development projects.

Drake added: “This recent expansion of the development team is part of a continuous programme of investment across Blakemore Trade Partners, in line with the business’s 2020 strategy, which focuses on long-term investment in retailers, improving their sales and profitability, and developing innovative store formats.

“This is an exciting time for Blakemore Trade Partners, and this current investment in the business leaves us well-placed to continue our recent success into the new financial year.”