Impulse up tobacco down at Filshill

Simon Hannah, managing director JW Filshill.

GROWTH of its KeyStore convenience store brand, tight cost controls across the business and a good performance by its international division saw independent Glasgow-based food and drink wholesaler JW Filshill record pre-tax profits of £0.9 million in the year to January 31, 2016. The company described it as a satisfactory performance in a challenging marketplace.

Filshill turnover for the year reduced 5.8% to £143m, which the firm said reflected market-wide trends of falling tobacco sales and price deflation occurring in many product categories.

But turnover of grocery and impulse categories grew during the year, the firm reported,  and that helped improve its gross margin from 6.7% to 6.8%.

The company, which marked its 140th anniversary last year by rebranding and launching a new community-based marketing campaign, made a number of business development, sales and marketing appointments,  and increased investment in IT and logistics. A new fascia for the company’s “top-end KeyStore retailers” is scheduled to be rolled out this autumn.

Managing director Simon Hannah, said: “The market remains highly competitive but we are well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities we are creating and to return to revenue growth.”

Export sales through JW Filshill International, which supplies craft beer, spirits and other products to markets including Asia-Pacific, are continuing to expand in line with expectations, he said.

And the firm is offering strong promotions plus advice and support – on IT, marketing, social media and more – to its retail customers, he added.