Tuffnells Parcels Express sales have risen sharply with almost 300 new customers being brought on board since it was acquired in December by Connect Group.

Commenting on Connect Group’s interim results to the end of February, group chief executive Mark Cashmore said Tuffnells represented “a significant step in our growth strategy” and added that the parent company was “delighted with its initial performance”.

In the six months to the end of February, group revenue was just over £909m (up 1.2% on the same period last year) with statutory profit before tax of £14.1m (2014: £22.1m). Underlying pre-tax profit (excluding exceptional items such as acquisition-related costs), was £24.1m (2014: £24m).

For the 12 months to 31 December 2014, Tuffnells delivered turnover of £143.6m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £16.5m, showed the interim accounts. Turnover in the ten weeks since the acquisition in December came to £28.4m, up 16.9% on the same period last year thanks to rises in both volumes and average price per consignment, with an operating profit of £1.5m, up 11.6%.

Plans to expand the Tuffnells depot network from 34 to 40 sites are gathering pace, meanwhile. A 13,400ft² depot in Borehamwood was opened earlier this year with the creation of 30 jobs;  while a second 30,000ft² site employing around 50 is due to open in Norwich in June.

Connect Group’s directors said they were “extremely pleased with the business we acquired and with trading in the first months since acquisition”.

Elsewhere within the group, the Pass my Parcel operation with Amazon has continued to grow. Since start-up last October, it has become operational in over 700 stores and the group now intends to increase the number of parcel shops involved to around 3,000 in the next six to nine months, from its previous target of 2,000.