Strong results for JW Filshill amid ongoing market challenges

JW Filshill saw turnover increase to £200 million – up 4.4% from £191 million – in the year ending 31 January 2022.

The Glasgow-based wholesaler, which supplies KeyStore convenience stores across Scotland and the north of England and national accounts including the Scottish Prison Service, also saw operating profits rise from £2.3 million to £2.7 million.

Keith Geddes: ‘The directors are confident that profits will continue at a satisfactory level.’

Filshill recorded gross profit of £17 million (8.5%) while net assets grew to £17.1 million compared to £15.2 million the previous year, an increase of 12.6%.

Keith Geddes, chief financial and operating officer, said that while sales and operations during the year were once again heavily impacted by the ongoing pandemic, tight controls and efforts by the Filshill team minimised disruption and helped the wholesaler to deliver a high level of service to its customers.

Last month, the company ramped up investment ahead of its move to its new distribution centre in early 2023 with the acquisition of the independent Iain Hill Ltd wholesale business, located just a few miles away in Linwood.

Commenting on rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis – in particular increases in the cost of fuel and food and drink – Geddes said: “This causes uncertainty for the group, our staff, and our customers and suppliers.

“However, the directors are confident that profits will continue at a satisfactory level going forward.”

Nevertheless, he cautioned that the group remained exposed to various financial and non-financial risks, including a highly competitive independent retail market and the risk of debts becoming irrecoverable. “The group operates tight credit control processes and has entered credit insurance arrangements for certain key balances,” he noted.

Addressing supply issues, he added: “Industry-wide supply issues have been a challenge. However, to offset this the group works hard to maintain strong partnership-based relationships with all suppliers, and we were recently ranked number one by suppliers in an independent survey by The Advantage Group across our key competitors all over the UK for the twelfth consecutive year.”

Despite the ongoing challenges facing Filshill and the wider wholesale/food and drink sector, the group continued to support many local community programmes and good causes as part of its ongoing commitment to CSR.

It also continued to heavily engage with its workforce on health and wellbeing, particularly with regard to mental health, with this work recognised through winning several industry awards.

Simon Hannah: ‘We invest in long-term return projects to protect future revenue streams.’

Simon Hannah, Filshill’s chief executive officer, said: “Mental health and wellbeing remains at the heart of our strategy and we recognise that as a responsible employer we need to do this not only for our employees and their families but also because of the positive impact it has on our business and our customers.

“Our safety-first culture is a cornerstone of everything we do, and our workforce retention and ability to recruit has been positively impacted by these initiatives.”

Hannah added: “We invest in long-term return projects to protect future revenue streams and this includes constantly updating our technology, equipment and vehicle fleet – an approach that has resulted in greater efficiencies and customer satisfaction.”

The company, he said, continued to measure revenue, gross margin and operating profit as key financial indicators and monitored non-financial KPIs including staff performance, vehicle fuel performance, sales service levels/range achievements, unanswered telesales call, returned orders and early warning date codes as part of its business performance review.

Filshill also further developed its strategy around benchmarking its carbon footprint, identifying areas where it can positively influence a reduction in its carbon impact and work towards a net-zero emissions position. Driven by Filshill’s environmental team, the company saw a reduction of 9% in its intensity ratio measure of carbon per case delivered.

Published Date: September 29, 2022
Category: Wholesale Industry News