Kitwave, N Shields wholesaler, ups revenue to £602m

Kitwave CEO Paul Young

Kitwave, the North Shields-based wholesaler that went public in 2021, said its revenues increased 20% to £602.2 million in the year to October 31, 2023, and profit before tax increased 40% to £24.9 million.

Total dividend for the year will rise 21.1% to 11.20p per ordinary share.

Post-period, Kitwave announced the acquisition of WLG (Holdings) Limited, which trades as Wilds of Oldham, a composite family-run drinks wholesaler, which was incorporated into the existing Foodservice on-trade business HB Clark in November 2023.

Kitwave is a delivered wholesale business specialising in selling and delivering impulse products, frozen, chilled and fresh foods, alcohol, groceries and tobacco to 42,000 mainly independent customers.

With a network of 30 depots, Kitwave delivers throughout the UK to a diverse customer base, which includes independent convenience retailers, leisure outlets, vending machine operators, foodservice providers and other wholesalers, as well as leading national retailers.

Kitwave CEO Paul Young, who will retire in March, said: As announced in the group’s trading update in November 2023, the strong performance continues to deliver growth with sustained momentum achieved throughout FY23.

“We are, therefore, able to report results in line with the significantly upgraded market expectations that were established after the group’s interim results, published in July 2023.

“As can be seen from the results for this year, all our divisions have continued to grow while managing well the inflationary pressures in their cost base that existed throughout the year.

“The successful integration of WestCountry into the Foodservice division demonstrates the value of our buy-and-build philosophy, with the group continually assessing acquisition opportunities to combine with our initiatives to drive organic growth.

While we have now acquired and successfully integrated 13 businesses since 2011, the board believes there remain a large number of opportunities available to us in what is a fragmented delivered wholesale market in the UK.

“In addition to acquisitions we also seek operational improvement. The new distribution centre is an example as it will be key to increasing the efficiency and capacity of the group’s South West operations.

“The launch of a web-based trading platform in February 2022 has brought immediate success, with electronic ordering becoming the predominant source of order capture for the group at 47% of all orders in the quarter to October 2023.

“We recognise the importance of technology and will continue to invest to improve our operational capability.

“The group is strategically positioned to continue to deliver a high service offering within the UK wholesale market and we are confident of another positive trading period in 2024. 

“Finally, after over 35 years since Kitwave was founded and being a part of that process, I will be retiring after the AGM on 22 March 2024.

“It has been a pleasure to see the group grow and with Ben Maxted taking over as the new chief executive officer, I am confident that the board and management have the expertise and experience to deliver Kitwave’s growth strategy and generate further value for the group and its shareholders.

“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank everyone within the group.  I am extremely grateful for my tenure as chief executive officer and I wish Kitwave every success for the future.”