A strong focus on non-fuel sales has contributed to a healthy growth in profits for Top 50 indie, Brobot Petroleum Ltd (BPL), part of the Brobot Group Ltd (BGL). It reported an increase in pre-tax profits to £375,215 on sales up 2.9% to £113.9m for the year ending March 31, 2013, with indications of another good year to come.

Company director Bridget Smith reported that in previous years, predictions for the fuel retail business had been cautious with the backdrop of the economy causing a degree of uncertainty, but that the company was entering the new financial year with much more confidence: “Our shops are performing well, like-for-like fuel volumes have increased by 8% in Q1, and we have new initiatives in place for rewarding customer loyalty. These are all reasons to suggest the new financial year will be a very successful one.”

Smith said that following the divestment of its bulk fuels distribution business in late 2011, BPL, which operates 21 of the 23 sites under BGL, has been wholly engaged in the petrol retail industry.

In her year-end report, she said it had been a difficult year in the industry as high prices and the economic conditions continued to put a strain on consumer resources.

“The volumes achieved across the estate remained constant compared to the previous year with an average 7% increase in pence-per-litre profit,” she said. “Shop sales were up by 5% with margins static. These factors contributed to an increase in gross profits on continuing operations of 4%. “

Her report revealed that the latest addition to the company’s filling station portfolio, the £2.5m new-build at Corby Southern Gateway, which won the 2012 Forecourt Trader award for Best Design and Development, has increased its level of trade steadily during the year and now has the largest shop turnover in the estate.

“We have maintained a strong focus on non-fuel sales during the year and have added to our off-licence, direct news and lottery installations,” Smith reported. “Margins have been under scrutiny with work done during the year to grow these without impacting sales volume. Q1 of the new financial year saw the benefit of this initiative with a shop margin increase of over 1%, representing £150K annually. In addition, Spar was introduced as a supply partner in the new financial year to assist us maximise the potential of our non-fuel business.”

With quality of staff fundamental to the success of the business, Smith said the company would be continuing with its program of investing in staff training by providing the opportunity for staff to achieve professional qualifications in areas appropriate to the business.