JW Filshill has announced an increase in pre-tax profits to £1.3m in the year to January 31 - up from £0.8m the previous year - even though turnover fell by 4.4% to £151m.

The Glasgow-based wholesaler and owner of the Keystore brand attributed its profit growth to investment in technology - including IT systems and social media - and improving efficiencies.

Simon Hannah, managing director of JW Filshill, said: “The independent retail trade remains highly competitive and challenging, and we seek to manage the principal risk of losing customers by offering strong promotions and wide-ranging advice and support.

“Continued investment in IT systems, electronic order capture methods and electronic date interchange with suppliers continues to add value to customers, suppliers and our business.”

He predicted that, despite intense competition from the supermarkets, growth would return within the next three years.

“We believe the decline of sales in recent years will reverse and growth will return within the following three years due to population growth and a change in consumer spending habits migrating towards the convenience sector,” he said.