Despite a 0.5% fall in its turnover to £142m, JW Filshill has recorded an increase of £0.2m in its operating profit to £1.1m in the year to January 2017.
Trading in an independent retail trade that remains “highly competitive and challenging”, Filshill’s performance in its food and drink business offset the continuing decline in tobacco sales helping to deliver a 0.6% uplift in gross profit percentage, up 8% on 2016.
The company’s capital investment in this period, part of a long-term strategy, included new vehicles, and extending its Hillington office complex to accommodate an expanding workforce and training facilities.
Managing director Simon Hannah, said: “Our market is evolving with further changes to tobacco sales regulations likely to drive the same trend for coming years, forcing convenience operators to focus more heavily on growth areas such as local sourcing, food to go, and fresh and chilled foods.
“We have ramped up investment in our workforce to enable us to engage more closely with our KeyStore customers and manage the principal risk of losing customers to other groups by offering strong promotions and wide-ranging advice and support, including store layouts/planograms, consumer leaflets, digital social media and EPoS till installations.”
Hannah said that a strategy planning exercise during the year to define the company’s future vision and create a framework for focusing activity and decision-making processes has been completed.
He added: “This has been a crucial step-change for us as the communication of who we are and what we stand for throughout our ‘family’ of customers, employees, suppliers and local communities will ensure that we operate within a fully-engaged community of stakeholders and puts delivering ‘Service Excellence’ at the heart of everything we work to achieve.”
Pointing to Filshill’s balance sheet, showing net assets of £11.7m, Hannah explained: “We’re in a strong position given current market conditions and while we continue to measure revenue, gross margin and operating profit as key financial indicators we also 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 our business performance review.”