Faced with ‘a tough trading environment’ in the wholesale sector, Bestway Group’s pre-tax profit fell by 20% to £227.7 million (from £283.5 million) in the year to 30 June.
Turnover, however, rose by 7% from £3.2 billion to £3.4 billion, of which the C&C/wholesale division (including retail) contributed £2.3 billion, compared with £2.1 billion previously.
Cash & Carry Management requested the profit and like-for-like sales figures for Bestway Wholesale, but the company declined to give these figures until the accounts are published.
In addition to the tough market conditions, Chairman Sir Anwar Pervez OBE blamed the group’s profit decline on the cost of absorbing Conviviality Retail, a business that required stabilising. Tough economic conditions were also felt by Bestway’s banking interests in Pakistan.
Group chief executive Lord Zameer Choudrey highlighted the ‘under-performance’ by Bestway Wholesale and by the cement business as well as integration of the retail concerns.
He commented: “Market conditions in the wholesale sector are continuously under pressure from the grocery multiples.
“While this has traditionally been in the convenience retail space, it has now broadened and intensified with Tesco (now linked with Booker), Morrisons and Asda all entering the wholesale market.”
In the catering sector, company sales rose by 2.5% to £162 million, with online customers growing from 62,000 to 81,000.
Bestway has more than 60 depots as well as over 600 retail stores, of which in excess of 450 are franchisees within Bestway Retail.
Well Pharmacy, with over 750 sites, sustained a decline in pre-tax profit from £8.6 million to ££6.2 million on sales up under 1% to £790.2 million.