Kitwave Group results on track after “challenging” year

Kitwave Group is reporting a return to close to pre-pandemic levels since April 2021 in its latest year-end results.

The delivered wholesale group traded in line with the board’s expectations in the 12 months to 31 October 2021, seeing figures impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions prior to April.

Financial headlines include revenues hitting £380.7 million, an adjusted operating profit of £7.1m and an 18% gross profit margin maintained during the year.

During the 12-month reporting period, Kitwave opened a new 70,000 sq ft distribution centre in Luton a a replacement for the previous site at Luton Airport, allowing the business to stock more than 5,000 pallets of frozen and chilled product.

Work is also progressing on a new foodservice warehouse in Wakefield that will replace an existing site the business inherited in the Yorkshire town that is no longer fit for purpose.

“While this year has been particularly challenging for our independent customers, who have been forced to close or operate in a reduced capacity for sustained periods of time as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, it is clear that we are nearing a return to some form of normality,” said CEO Paul Young.

“The majority of our customers have successfully guided themselves through the perils that the pandemic brought upon us and, as a result, trading, which was heavily impacted in the first six months of the year, has returned to pre-pandemic levels over recent months.

“The division least impacted by COVID-19 restrictions was our frozen & chilled division, which remained extremely resilient and operated close to pre-pandemic levels throughout the period. Each of the group’s ambient, frozen & chilled and foodservice divisions, however, experienced some degree of disruption during the period.”

Despite the challenges the past year has thrown up, Kitwave is pushing forward with its buy-and-build strategy by acquiring fellow Unitas member MJ Baker Foodservice. And Young is optimistic for the group’s future.

“With the worst of the adverse effects brought about by Covid-19 now behind us, and barring any further lockdowns, the outlook for Kitwave is a positive one,” he added.

“The board continues to focus on capitalising upon the UK’s fragmented grocery and foodservice wholesale market and generating value for the group and its shareholders through operational efficiencies, organic growth and further acquisitions. The current year has started well and we look forward to providing further updates on our progress in due course.”

coronavirus covid-19 Kitwave Group MJ Baker Foodservice Paul Young results