Glasgow wholesaler JW Filshill has eye on growth as turnover holds steady

Scottish food and drink wholesaler JW Filshill has flagged possible growth opportunities after annual turnover held steady at £155 million.

JW Filshill Ltd was founded in Glasgow in 1875 and currently supplies over 190 KeyStore outlets across Scotland and the north of England. It also has 1,500 independent delivered customers.

The Glasgow-based group, which is one of the country’s longest established wholesalers, supplies more than 190 KeyStore convenience stores across Scotland and the north of England, and has several national accounts including the Scottish Prison Service and Caledonian MacBrayne. It also supplies local craft beer, spirits and other grocery products to international markets.

Bosses said the firm had chalked up a “stable” performance in the year to the end of January, with revenues of £155m matching the previous year’s figure. A gross profit margin of 8.4 per cent was slightly up on the year before.

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The fifth-generation wholesaler, which can trace its roots back to 1875, also said it was on track to relocate to a 120,400 square foot purpose-built distribution centre at Westway Park near Glasgow Airport in early 2022.

Keith Geddes, chief financial and operating officer, said: “The group has delivered a stable set of results this year with the continuing industry-wide decline in tobacco sales being offset by sustained growth in other product categories.

“The market remains highly competitive and consolidation continues in the sector but we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities we are creating and continue to deliver growth outside of the tobacco category. During the year we continued to export a selection of alcohol and non-alcohol products via JW Filshill International.”

Chief executive Simon Hannah said he was confident that profit and turnover growth would continue at a “satisfactory level”.

He added: “The independent retail trade remains highly competitive and challenging. In recent months, we have gained a significant number of new customers who have joined our KeyStore family based on word-of-mouth recommendations and our commitment to servicing our customer based during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Any loss of support of key suppliers in terms of supply or credit is a key risk. To offset this the group works hard to maintain strong partnership-based relationships with all suppliers.

“We believe that we have taken the necessary steps to minimise the associated risks and to take advantage of the corresponding opportunities. With regards to Covid, we continue to implement controls to minimise the risk exposure.”

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