UNITED Wholesale (Scotland) has underlined its ambition to extend its reach across central Scotland after acquiring Falkirk’s M9 Cash & Carry.

The deal was announced as the Glasgow-based wholesaler revealed it had lifted turnover by £10 million to £222m in its latest financial year.

Profits were steady at around £2m for the year ended December 31, revealed United, which bought M9 from the Asif family for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition gives United a 30,000 square foot depot located on the M9 between Grangemouth and Falkirk, which supplies independent convenience stores and licensed grocers.

It highlights the company’s determination to increase its presence across central Scotland, following its recent purchase of a site in Edinburgh.

United, which supplies hundreds of independent grocery stores under the Day Today and U-Save fascias, acquired the 68,000 square foot Terston House at Newbridge in late 2013. It plans to launch the depot in August 2016.

Talking to The Herald last year, managing director Asim Sarwar said United had initially taken a three-year lease on the building. The deal will see it acquire the premises outright at an agreed price after that period.

The company, which supplies 275 Day Today and 150 U-Save stores, said the M9 deal would complement its existing Glasgow branches in Pollokshields and Queenslie, and provide a platform for the launch of its Newbridge depot.

Mr Sarwar said: “The acquisition of M9 Cash & Carry represents a key phase in our strategy for growth. It is a well-established operation with a strong customer base and we will be looking to grow sales from the site by 50 per cent in the next 24 months.

“The move complements our existing portfolio and will also act as the perfect launchpad for the opening of our Newbridge depot in Edinburgh, providing greater reach and infrastructure to meet the demands of our customers across Scotland.”

The M9 acquisition, which will see 22 staff transfer to United , comes after the Glasgow firm lifted turnover by 4.7 per cent in its latest financial year. The period saw the business invest £2m to expand its flagship depot on Maxwell Road, Pollokshields, with the introduction of licensed products in August last year.

United noted that staff numbers have grown to 240 to support its growth, having employed an average of 193 staff the year before. And it said investment has been made in its symbol group, which it said is performing well in spite of competitive conditions in the retail market.

Mr Sarwar added: “We are very pleased with the recent financial performance as we make investments which we believe will deliver long-term sustainable growth.

“Our core objective has been always to support our customers in what continues to be a very challenging economic climate.

“By having our customer at the heart of our strategy, we have been able to deliver aggressively on price, ensuring they can compete with supermarkets and larger retailers.

“Our objective will be to continue to develop this model and customer proposition as we expand our operations across central and east Scotland, truly cementing our position as Scotland’s number one independent wholesaler.”