Glasgow wholesaler JW Filshill, which supplies 183 KeyStore convenience outlets across Scotland and the north of England, has reported increased operating revenue of £145m in the year to January 31 2018, up 1.9% on the previous year.

However, a decline in tobacco sales and higher overheads lead to a dip in annual operating profits. The wholesaler said it had introduced a number of cost control measures over the last year to offset the fall in tobacco revenue.

Outside of its tobacco business, the wholesaler reported strong category sales in soft drinks, grocery, food to go and fresh and chilled foods. The company also cited the impact of its international craft beer and spirits business as a key area of financial growth for the group.

JW Filshill md Simon Hannah said the wholesaler had delivered constant growth throughout the 2017/18 year, in a market that remains challenging.

He said: “Consolidation in the sector is fast. However, we are well positioned to continue to take advantage of the opportunities we are creating and deliver growth.

“We are pleased with the company performance and are confident that profits will continue at a satisfactory level, with the current year’s revenue showing further strong growth. The independent retail trade remains highly competitive and challenging and we seek to manage the principal risk of losing customers by aiming to deliver best-in-class customer service.”

He added: “Recent changes to the living wage, pension regulation and fuel prices continue to drive up our cost base but we continue to focus on offsetting these increases through a constant drive in improving operational efficiency and maximising our use of technology and data.

“We’re in a strong position given current market conditions and while changing the mix of our business has led to increased overheads, we are prepared to incur these costs in order to ensure that our customers have the armoury they need to compete in the increasingly competitive convenience retail marketplace.”

In addition to the KeyStore estate, the wholesaler also serves around 1,400 unaffiliated independent customers.