Food and drink wholesaler JW Filshill, one of Scotland’s oldest independent food and drink wholesalers, saw turnover increase to £203 million – up 2% from £199 million – in the year ending January 31, 2023.

Glasgow-based Filshill, a fifth-generation business that supplies the KeyStore convenience stores and independent retailers across Scotland and the north of England and national accounts including the Scottish Prison Service, also saw operating profits rise from £2.7 million to £2.9 million.

Filshill, which relocated from Hillington to new purpose-built premises at Westway Park near Glasgow Airport in March, recorded gross profit of £19.4 million, up from £17 million, while net assets increased to £18.9 million compared to £17.1 million the previous year.

Unveiling another set of strong results, Keith Geddes, chief financial and operating officer, said that he was “particularly pleased with these results given that they were achieved against the context of the rebalancing of the economy in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and also the significant delay in moving to our new facility which had restricted the group’s ability to grow revenue due to having reached maximum operational capacity in Hillington”.

Mr Geddes highlighted that the “positive results had been achieved despite increases in operating costs absorbed by the business in supporting employees through the cost of living crisis, fuel price increases and recent rising inflation”.

“Significant resource was also spent preparing for the move to the new site in Renfrew which was successfully completed just after this financial year end in March 2023,” he said. “This move is transformational for the efficient operation of the business and sets the foundations for our planned growth over coming years.”

Mr Geddes was also pleased with the successful integration of the Iain Hill Limited business in 2022 and the continued success of the previously acquired Eldorado Tonic Wine brand.

Photo: JW Filshill chief financial and operating officer Keith Geddes
Photo Credit: JW Filshill Group

Addressing supply issues the business faced during the year, Mr Geddes added: “We continue to work hard on building strong partnership based relationships with customers and key suppliers and we were again recently voted number one by suppliers in an independent survey by The Advantage Group across our key competitors for the thirteenth consecutive year.”

Filshill also continued to develop its strategy around reducing its carbon footprint, identifying areas where it can positively influence a reduction in its carbon impact and work towards a net-zero emissions position. Mr Geddes highlighted the recent order of two new 18-tonne electric vehicles as a major step forward in the rollout of electric and hybrid vehicles and the drive to hit the group’s carbon reduction objectives.

During the period, the Filshill 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. The company recently held its first Filshill Family Day at Finlaystone Country Park which was attended by over 300 employees and their families.

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.”

Mr Hannah added: “The long-term success of the company is central to everything we do. 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 monitor 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.

Headline Photo: Simon Hannah, left, and Keith Geddes
Photo Credit: JW Filshill Group

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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