Wincanton saw revenue grow by 1.7% to £1.2bn in the year ending 31 March 2021, fuelled by strong performances in digital and e-fulfilment and new wins in the public sector.

However, the third party logistics business also saw underlying pre-tax profit slide 10.6% to £47.2m, due to the impact of Covid-19 in the first quarter.

It added that the second half performance was strong and cash management actions taken during the first quarter, resulted in its cash position remaining healthy throughout the period.

Revenues in its continuing business increased by 5.6% overall and by 12.7% in the second half, underpinned by new wins awarded by Dobbies, Heineken, Wickes, HMRC and DHSC.

Wincanton said prior year business wins with Morrisons and Co-op flowed through to further support volume growth in the grocery and consumer sector and yielded revenue growth of 4.9%.

It also secured a two-year renewal of all its Asda contracts.

The lockdowns in 2020 created surges in consumer demand for DIY projects, which Wincanton said benefitted its major customers and resulted in it mobilising an additional warehouse for the Screwfix network and led to year-on-year growth of more than 11%.

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It also said its digital and e-fulfilment sector had “an exceptional year” with strong volumes created by people spending more on their homes.

As a result, Wincanton opened a new warehouse in Nuneaton focused entirely on this sector and the success of this initiative meant it was now investing in a new e-commerce facility in Rockingham, providing evidence of its strategic focus on the high-growth e-commerce market.

Chief executive James Wroath said: “Wincanton has made significant progress in a challenging year, showing flexibility, agility and resilience for our customers across our business.

“These results clearly show the benefits of the breadth of our offer and the commitment of our people who stepped up to meet the challenges we faced.

“While profitability was impacted by the unprecedented disruption caused by Covid-19 in the first half it was significantly ahead of pre-pandemic levels in the second.”

Wroath added: “Looking ahead, we remain confident that we are well placed to make further progress, though we are mindful of the competitive environment and short term uncertainties as the country moves out of lockdown.”

l The results came as the group launched its new ESG strategy, outlining a plan to improve its impact on the environment.

It included ambitions to become net zero across its transport, property and waste divisions by 2040; eliminating all single-use plastics by 2030; providing net zero deliveries on home delivery operations by next year and working on methods to eliminate red diesel use for refrigeration by 2030.