Challenging market conditions led to a £1.3m fall in turnover at Fred Sherwood & Sons (Transport) last year.

The Leicestershire family firm reported a £33.4m turnover in the year ending 31 March 2018, down 3.7% compared with 2017’s £34.7m.

Pre-tax profit was £2.6m (2017: £671,688) but the haulier said the increase was due to receiving a £2m dividend from a subsidiary company.

In its review of the business, Fred Sherwood & Sons (Transport) said the fall in revenue had occurred mainly in haulage and diesel and it added: “The drop in revenue was anticipated by the directors, reflecting challenging market conditions, and the fleet was scaled down slightly.

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“Gross profit margins have been maintained through careful cost control of vehicle and trailer costs, despite coming under pressure from increased lorry depreciation charges due to the level of asset resale values, pressure on pay rates and increasing fuel prices.”

Last year the company said it had increased its fleet spending as part of an ongoing upgrade and it said this had continued during the latest trading period.

“The company has continued to invest heavily in revitalising the fleet with investment in lorries and trailers of over £3.6m,” it added.

Fred Sherwood & Sons (Transport) incorporates a host of firms, including Bulk Transport (Midlands), grain haulier George Varney (Bulk Services), Sherwood Self Store, Junction 23 Lorry Park and livery and sign writing division Elliott Signs.