Haulage and warehousing firm Stiller has expanded its Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor operations on the back of increased demand.

The County Durham firm, which operates a fleet of wagons and employs about 157 people, increased warehousing footprint by 7,000 sqft during 2021, its latest set of accounts reveal. Demand for storage and distribution services saw the firm's turnover rise from £15.9m to £14.9m last year, as operating profit increased from £1.4m to £1.8m.

In newly published accounts, Stiller said it had also invested more than £290,000 in new trailer and vehicle equipment in order to meet demand within its distribution division - which accounted for the majority of turnover. A further £133,000 was invested in mechanical handling equipment for the firm's warehousing operation.

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In May 2021 the firm completed refurbishment and expansion of its onsite vehicle workshops which host brake roller testing equipment that means Stiller is capable of more frequent and cost effective testing. And despite fuel price inflation, the business said fuel surcharge agreements with customers meant it was protected from further rises.

Writing in the accounts, managing director Matthew Stiller said: "The company aims to grow its sales in its core services. The company also aims to grow sales of additional related services to the current customer base In areas such as contract packing, fulfilment and hazardous goods transportation. Sales targets are agreed prior to the beginning of the financial year and performance is monitored weekly.

"Continued investment in vehicles, trailers and manual handling equipment is planned in order to maintain a high standard of equipment and to improve efficiency. The capital expenditure plan is agreed by the board of directors prior to the start of the financial year to ensure the growth objectives of the company are also met. The development of new buildings on the company's premises in Newton Aycliffe is being evaluated by the board of directors. This is in response to continuing demand for warehousing services in the local area."

Stiller was founded in the mid-1950s by former prisoner of war Gunter Stiller, who settled in the North East. The business has now survived three generations of the family and is owned and managed by his grandson, Matthew Stiller.