Hannah proud of JW Filshill’s “strong position”

Glasgow-based wholesaler achieves growth despite challenging marketplace

Scottish wholesaler JW Filshill has celebrated a successful 12 months by announcing growth in margin and turnover.

The increases have been put down to strong cost controls, a targeted strategy to offset the decline in tobacco sales and the impact made by its international craft beer and spirits business, with a 1.9% rise in turnover to £145 million in the year ending 31 January 2018.

The total was up on the previous year’s figures of £142 million, although operating profit was down due to the company’s higher overheads as a result of it diversifying its product mix to offset the continuing decline in the tobacco market.

“Consolidation in the sector is fast,” said Managing Director Simon Hannah. “The strong performance in non-tobacco categories, including soft drinks, grocery, food to go, and fresh and chilled foods. This change in the mix of business helped to drive up gross margin, with the uplift during the year at 6.6%.

“We are pleased with the company performance and are confident that profits will continue at a satisfactory level, with the current year’s revenue showing further strong growth. The independent retail trade remains highly competitive and challenging and we seek to manage the principal risk of losing customers by aiming to deliver best-in-class customer service.”

Export sales via JW Filshill International, Asia-Pacific in particular, continued to grow and Hannah said that Filshill is now “contributing profitably” to the group.
Pointing to cost control as a key focus of the business, he added: “Recent changes to the living wage, pension regulation and fuel prices continue to drive up our cost base, but we continue to focus on offsetting these increases through a constant drive in improving operational efficiency and maximising our use of technology and data.
“We’re in a strong position given current market conditions and while changing the mix of our business has led to increased overheads, we are prepared to incur these costs in order to ensure that our customers have the armoury they need to compete in the increasingly competitive convenience retail marketplace.”


figures Filshill growth JW Filshill Scotland Simon Hannah