Applegreen, the service station retailer which is in the process of acquiring Welcome Break, has reported strong growth in food sales across its UK estate in the six months to 30 June.

In the period, revenue in the UK increased by 33% with total fuel gross profit up 16.3% and down 6.6% on a like for like constant currency basis. Conversely, combined food and store sales and gross profit rose year on year by 32.5% and 36.6% respectively. On a like for like constant currency basis, these sales were 5% ahead of the same period last year, reflecting good growth particularly in food.

The group opened 15 new petrol filling stations in the UK during the period. At 30 June there were 112 sites trading.

Commenting on the results chief executive Bob Etchingham said: “We are pleased with the performance of our business during 2018. Applegreen is entering an exciting phase of growth in the UK service area market with the recent announcement of the Welcome Break transaction. This will be transformational for Applegreen by giving us critical mass in a key market and is expected to close in Q4 2018

“The business continued to expand in each of our three markets as we increased our estate by 26 sites to a total of 368 locations trading at the end of the period. We opened seven new sites in the Republic of Ireland, 15 in the UK and four in the US in H1 2018.”

“Our financial performance for the first six months of 2018 has been robust notwithstanding the difficult trading conditions caused by the exceptional weather in March, especially in our Irish business. Apart from the impact of this one off event, the underlying business continues to perform well and we remain confident in the prospects for the business in 2018.”