Progress at store chain

Record profits as KeyStore chain controls costs

simon-hannahKeyStore convenience store owner JW Filshill has reported record pre-tax profits of £900,000 as it cut costs and improved its overseas operations.

The Glasgow-based firm, one of one of Scotland’s oldest independent food and drink suppliers, said its performance for the year to the end of January was “satisfactory” in a challenging marketplace.

Turnover fell 5.8% to £143 million, reflecting the market-wide trends that are seeing tobacco sales continue to fall and price deflation evident in many product categories.

However, turnover of grocery and impulse categories grew during the year and helped improve gross margin from 6.7% to 6.8%.

The company, which marked its 140th anniversary last year by rebranding and launching a new community-based marketing campaign, made a number of key business development, sales and marketing appointments as well as ramping up investment in IT and logistics in order to improve efficiencies. A new fascia for top-end KeyStore retailers will be rolled out this autumn.

Managing director Simon Hannah (pictured), the fifth generation of his family to run Filshill, was upbeat, stating: “The market remains highly competitive but we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities we are creating and to return to revenue growth.”

Export sales via JW Filshill International Ltd, which supplies craft beer, spirits and other products to markets including Asia-Pacific, are continuing to expand in line with expectations, he added.

“Cost control continues to be a key focus for the business although wage costs have risen as we continue to support and invest in our workforce.

“Investment has been made in our business development and marketing teams, and a refocus on health and safety commenced during the year. Capital investment included IT systems, company vehicles and equipment.”

Group commercial director Chris Miller has recently returned from Abu Dhabi where he attended a  business forum for senior decision-makers in the food and beverage industry. He said interest in its Craft Beer Clan of Scotland brands was high.

Mr Hannah and Chris Miller have recently joined the board of Brewgooder, the world’s first craft beer label to donate 100% of its profits to clean water projects.

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