Cambridgeshire-based ambient food logistics specialist Bretts Transport has said it anticipates “a good profitable year” after reporting a 9.5% increase in turnover for the 12 months to the end of March.

MD Simon Brett said the boost to turnover in the year to 31 March 2013 – which rose from £12.5m to £13.7m – was largely the result of winning a new contract worth around £900,000 in extra turnover from local food producer Kinnerton Confectionery. The contract involves shunting movements from Kinnerton’s production site in Fakenham to its Wisbech warehouse, and national distribution to retailers from there.

Despite the rise in turnover, pre-tax profit during the year fell by 21% from £252,600 to £199,500. Finance director Granville Evans said this was due to an “unexpectedly quiet” fourth quarter in terms of demand from retailers, which he attributed to the flat economy and poor weather at the time.

During the year, the group, which includes sister company Bretts Storage, upgraded the warehousing facilities at its Guyhirn base, near Wisbech, almost doubling total space there to  170,000ft2 to take on the operations of another operation at a separate leased site in Peterborough, which was closed down. Bretts Transport, meanwhile, also made substantial investment in fleet replacements, reducing the average age of its trucks “quite dramatically”, said Brett.

The firm, which operates a fleet of 90 LGVs – mostly artics – from three sites at Guyhirn, Ely and Huntingdon, is now expecting a period of less frenetic activity, added Brett. “What we are looking to do now is have at least a couple of years of consolidation. We’re not actively seeking new business at the moment, though if a palatable opportunity arose, we would of course look at it.”

The current financial year is progressing well, he said. “Looking at the first quarter, we have achieved our expectations. The business is performing according to the budget, which aspires to a better year than last year, so I’d say all the signs so far are good,” he confirmed.