JW Filshill reports 23% rise in turnover, despite pandemic

By John Glover

One of Scotland’s oldest independent food and drink wholesalers has seen a 23% increase in turnover to £191m.

Glasgow-based JW Filshill recorded the increase for the year ending 31 January - up from £155m the previous year.

The fifth-generation business supplies convenience stores across Scotland and the North of England, as well as the Scottish Prison Service.

It recorded a gross profit of 8.08% during the year, slightly down from 8.4% the previous year, due to the effects of the pandemic.

Operating profit increased to £2.3m - 1.2% of turnover - from 0.67% the previous year, in what directors described as a “positive improvement, but still highlighting how tight profit margins are in the wholesale sector”.

Net assets rose by 11.8% to £15.2m, from £13.6m the previous year.

The group will be relocating to a 120,400 sq ft purpose built distribution centre at Westway Park near Glasgow Airport early next year.

Keith Geddes, chief financial and operating officer, said: “There were high costs associated with safeguarding employees and customers but we took all necessary precautions.

“Despite these increased operating costs, the change in consumer behaviours resulted in an increase in demand for convenience retail, which helped offset these costs and generated funds to invest in the growth and future of the business.”

Chief executive Simon Hannah said the group's acquisition of tonic wine brand Eldorado towards the end of the year provided an opportunity for the business to become involved in brand ownership and development.

He added: “We also revisited our overall company strategy during the year and created a 10-year strategy, built by all employees, to provide focus and clarity of direction for the business going forward.

“Our long-term strategy of building strong partnership-based relationships with our customers and suppliers has been critical in providing essential supplies to communities across the country in challenging times.”

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