Wincanton continued its strong performance in its fourth quarter of trading, with underlying revenue now expected to be around 15% ahead of last year.

In its latest trading update in advance of its full year results in May, Wincanton said its digital and e-fulfilment sector had been bolstered by the start-up of new business for Dobbies and Dwell, as well as the commencement of operations at its London customer fulfilment centre for Waitrose.

An increase in public sector activity, notably on contracts relating to inland border clearance services and Covid-19 testing kit storage and distribution translated into year-on-year growth of around 10%.

Wincanton said its grocery and consumer work remained strong, even against a “challenging” comparison with Q4 2019/20, when panic buying in the early weeks of the pandemic boosted volumes.

The 3PL giant said its strong performance during the period enabled it to repay £5.8m of government support received under the job retention scheme to protect jobs during the pandemic.

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The leasing of a second e-fulfilment facility in Rockingham, Northants has also helped it to secure business with B&Q and online furniture retailer Snug and shows the group’s focus on the high-growth e-commerce market.

James Wroath, Wincanton chief executive, said: “Wincanton has delivered another strong performance, maintaining our positive momentum throughout the final quarter of the year.

“Our people have met the challenges associated with operating in another lockdown and it is very satisfying to see all four parts of the business in growth and contributing positively to the group.

“We are also delighted to have expanded our e-fulfilment capabilities and capacity further with our new site in Rockingham.

“This serves as a marker of our ambitions to capitalise on the growth opportunities presented by the increasing prominence of online retail.”