JW Filshill plans 200 KeyStore shops

Scottish wholesaler JW Filshill has resumed the recruitment process for its Keystore symbol group.

The company put a temporary hold on taking new retailers for the fascia during lockdown to ensure  availability and support for existing store owners. Filshill chief sales and marketing officer Craig Brown told RN the company has received more than 50 enquiries since reopening applications.

“The conversions will depend on the standard of the retailer, as we’re after quality and not quantity. We have 196 stores currently and we’ve got 20 definites that we’ll convert between December and the beginning of February.

“We’re after the tech-savvy retailer who has the community at heart. Many of the retailers we’re working have seen their sales increase because of the pandemic and many of them are looking to invest that into their stores, which can only be good for the customer.”

Brown added the boost in recruitment had also been driven by its focus on click and collect. The service is being led by former Booker retail development manager and Bestway business development executive Les Harvison, who joined the company this year.

“We’ve never had any dedicated resource for click and collect and Les has been creating a pipeline to bring customers in. We’ve brought 80 to 100 customers onto click and collect and this has led to enquires about joining the Keystore symbol group.

“There’s also been growth in delivered. A lot of retailers won’t want to spend ages walking around a  cash and carry because of health and safety reasons. Many recognise the efficiency of delivered and click and collect in enabling them to spend more time in their stores.”

Filshill operates three store formats; the smaller Express format, a medium tier Keystore format and a larger More format. Brown added the company has seen an increase in the number of conversions to the Express brand.

During the pandemic, commercial property experts reported an increase in purchasing enquiries for smaller format stores, which have seen a boost in footfall as a result of customers choosing to shop more at their local convenience store.

“Traditionally we were underrepresented by Keystore Express in Glasgow but we’ve seen a change,” Brown said. “We’ve seen more enquiries about Express through neighbourhoods in Greater Glasgow and more central areas. We’ve already converted half a dozen stores this year from other groups and we’re seeing a lot of enquiries.

“We’ve also got three forecourt stores; two in Scotland and one in the north of England. We’re seeing a lot of enquiries into this sector as well.”