JW Filshill

JW Filshill

Sales at JW Filshill jumped 1.9% to £145m in the year to 31 January 2018, with pre-tax profits increasing 0.9% to £896k.

The Glasgow-based wholesaler said the sales increase was down to strong cost controls, a targeted strategy to offset the decline in tobacco sales, and the impact of its international craft beer and spirits business.

The Today’s Group member said this also helped boost its gross margin by 6.6% during the year.

Filshill, which supplies 183 KeyStore convenience stores across Scotland and the north of England, said trading in the independent retail sector remained “highly competitive”. It said it enjoyed strong food and drink sales but operating profit dipped due to higher overheads as it diversified its product mix to offset the continuing fall in tobacco sales.

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Turnover excluding tobacco was up 6.7%, said MD Simon Hannah.

“Consolidation in the sector is fast,” he said. “However, we are well positioned to continue to take advantage of the opportunities we are creating and deliver growth.”

Hannah said export sales via JW Filshill International, in particular the Asia-Pacific region, continued to grow and is now contributing profitably to the group.

“Recent changes to the living wage, pension regulation and fuel prices continue to drive up our cost base but we continue to focus on offsetting these increases through a constant drive in improving operational efficiency and maximising our use of technology and data,” he added.

“We’re in a strong position given current market conditions and while changing the mix of our business has led to increased overheads, we are prepared to incur these costs in order to ensure that our customers have the armoury they need to compete in the increasingly competitive convenience retail marketplace.”