Bestway Wholesale’s pre-tax profits soared by 83% to £23.2m last year as symbol group Best-one continued to perform strongly.
The wholesale business increased profitability despite wage inflation, the continued competition of the multiples in the wholesale sector and the increasing presence of supermarket chains in the independent retail sector.
Bestway continued to focus efforts on its symbol and club offer, as well as its foodservice and digital operations.
Sales in licensed, retail and catering sectors all recorded a 1.9% growth excluding tobacco, while foodservice sales grew by 7.6% for the year ending 30 June 2017.
Best-one sales increased by 19.7% excluding tobacco and 12.9% overall, while retailers benefited from rebates in excess of £1m via the My Rewards rebate scheme.
However, revenue in the wholesale business fell by 2.2% to £2.13bn, which Bestway attributed to a decline in tobacco sales in line with the broader wholesale and retail sectors.
Bestway also consolidated the growth of its online business, with the number of registered users rising from 37,000 in 2016 to 62,000 in 2017. Total website and app sales averaged £26m a month, triggering a 12% growth in weekly sales. It added that the app now accounts for nearly 25% of all online transactions, compared with 15% in the previous period.
“These latest set of results puts Bestway Wholesale back on track after a year of investment in 2015/16,” said Bestway’s MD Martin Race.
“While market conditions continue to be challenging, we are seeing fantastic growth in our Best-one symbol offer, multiple accounts businesses. Bestpets and catering sales have also performed well but we still think that we can develop these two sectors further.
“Overall it has been a strong performance by the wholesale division. We have seen customer satisfaction scores, promotional sales and margins all increase while following our strategic commitment to operate for less.
“Non-tobacco sales are growing. However, like everyone else in the market, we have suffered in tobacco.
“We are committed to building on these results.”