The Bestway Group, the UK’s fourth-biggest wholesaler and second-largest C amp;C, this morning announced its financial results for the year ended 30 June 2014. The Group’s annual turnover increased by 1.2% to just under £2.6bn, up from £2.5bn in 2013. Profit before tax for the year ended 30 June 2014 was up 44.7% to £267.1m from £184.6m in 2013. All group businesses “continued to be profitable”, said CEO Zameer Choudrey.
Turnover in the wholesale business (Bestway Group also has interests in cement and banking) was £2.38bn – compared to £2.34bn in the corresponding period last year. Profit before tax for the year ended 30 June 2014 was £54.3m as compared to £54.2m in 2013.
“In line with the dynamics of the wholesale sector and keeping in mind the demands of our customers; two years ago we identified three major area on which we intended to focus in order to drive future growth – Retail Symbol/Club growth, online sales and foodservice,” said Choudrey.
“The Group’s three focus areas continue to grow robustly. Retail growth is driven by retail clubs. Our retail clubs, Best One and Xtra Local are the largest retail clubs in the UK with over 4,300 members and a turnover of £64m per annum, an increase of 6.7% over 2013.
“In digital, our web based online business continues to grow with over 26,000 registered users of our websites. During the year under review, web sales increased by 47.1% to £176.3m. We are the first wholesaler to introduce a fully functional smart phone app which quickly shot up the rankings to be amongst the top 10 apps in Apple’s App Store. The Group believes that the app will change customer shopping behaviour and to further reinforce our leadership in digital innovation, we are also now at the forefront of pioneering new technologies for the channel such as geo-fencing and i-beacons.
“Bestway Batleys Foodservice now has 23 contracts covering an extensive range of local authorities, NHS hospitals, schools, private ventures with another 22 tenders in place. During the year, the Group invested in re launching its flagship catering own label brand, Essentially Catering. The new range includes over 50 everyday catering products and was made available to the customers from February 2014. Foodservice turnover increased by 2.3% to £128.3m.”
He continued: “In April 2014 the Group acquired Sher Brothers, a business based in Glasgow. The new dual branded Bestway Batleys depot was opened to the customers in July and offers customers a brand new shopping experience from a 100,000 square feet sales area. This again underlines Bestway’s commitment to the wholesale sector and reiterates the Group’s mission of ‘Building Business for the Independents’.”
Choudrey added that the Group now also had over 500 Best Pets-branded stores all over UK, served by the specialist Bst Pets division.
He also said there would be a five-year investment programme of £200m in the Co-Op Pharmacy chain, acquired last year and this month re-branded Well, which would create “hundred of jobs across UK.”
“A further £1.6 m is being invested into establishing a new headquarters for Well in Manchester, relocating 227 employees from the current Co-operative Group head office. The business will move into the 22,000 sq ft Merchants Warehouse, a Grade II listed building in Manchester’s historic Castlefield district, in late 2015,” concluded Choudrey.