Venerable Scottish wholesaler moves to major new site near airport

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The new distribution centre <i>(Image: JW Filshill)</i>
The new distribution centre (Image: JW Filshill)

SCOTTISH food and drink wholesaler JW Filshill, founded in 1875 in Paisley, has completed its delayed move from Hillington to a purpose-built distribution centre at Westway Park near Glasgow Airport.

The fifth-generation family business, which supplies KeyStore convenience stores across Scotland and the north of England, said the phased move “kickstarts an exciting period of growth”.

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It also has around 1,600 independent customers.

Filshill noted it had last year ramped up investment ahead of its move to its new distribution centre with the acquisition of the independent Iain Hill wholesale business.

It added that it had relocated its distribution centre and head office “in order to future-proof the business”.

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Simon Hannah, chief executive of Filshill, said that the new 120,400 sq ft depot at Westway Park will allow the wholesaler to increase its operational capacity and open more stores in Scotland and the north of England, "from Wick to Doncaster in South Yorkshire".

He added: “Operating out of these bespoke premises, which have been designed to our exact specification as part of our 10-year growth strategy, will improve our efficiency and productivity as we invest in the long-term success of the company, protect future revenue streams and increase customer satisfaction."

Mr Hannah declared that the acquisition of Iain Hill, a wholesaler with a strong foothold in soft drinks, confectionery, snacks and "other impulse products", had bolstered Filshill’s modern fleet of vehicles as well as strengthening its pool of experienced staff.

He added: “While we are disappointed that the pandemic and unforeseen planning issues delayed our move to Westway Park, we are delighted to now be fully operational as a business from what is one of the most modern and efficient food and drink distribution depots in the UK.

“Westway Park is the culmination of considerable planning to create the infrastructure that will enable us to recognise our ambitions and we will use the facility to drive unrivalled operational efficiency and promote the keenest prices as we aspire to become the most frictionless wholesaler in Scotland for our customers and suppliers to do business with.

"Incorporating the high-level skills of our people across the business and the most up-to-date technology and equipment, Westway Park marks the start of a new phase of a journey for the Filshill family that started in Paisley in 1875.”

Filshill saw its turnover increase to £200 million – up 4.4% from £191 million – in the year ending January 31, 2022. Operating profits rose from £2.3m to £2.7m.

The 16-metre-high warehouse – which has 211 solar panels covering around 400 square metres of roof space – has 12 loading docks and an innovative four-floor "pick tower" which can hold around 1,520 pallets and, in addition, standard storage racking with capacity to hold 8,650 pallets.