Growth in digital and e-fulfilment underpinned trading at 3PL Wincanton, despite falls in its construction and fuel delivery business lines.
Turnover fell 2.4% to £578.7 million for the six months ending 30 September, while pre-tax profit fell 27.5% to £19.1 million.
Turnover in its digital and e-fulfilment division rose 15.7% to £65 million, while its groceries business saw a 4.3% rise to £216.4 million and its revenue from general merchandising are 2.5% to £149.6 million.
Wincanton said it was looking to take advantage of the shift in consumer purchasing habits to online, with digital and e-fulfilment revenues growing 15.7% against the same period a year ago. It said that in addition to start-up activity for the new Waitrose CFC in West London, high activity levels through the home delivery network for Ikea and M&S as well as growth in the Wickes and Homebase contracts were the key drivers of the year-on-year uplift.
However, its public and industrial business saw turnover fall 22.3% to £106.6 million year-on-year as construction activity wound down during lockdown and fuel sales dropped as consumers stayed at home.
Wincanton has also agreed to sell its Pullman Fleet Services – its UK commercial vehicle repair and maintenance company, to asset management firm, Aurelius Investments for an undisclosed sum.
The half year also saw it sell its Containers division to Maritime Transport. Wincanton said that both sales would lead to a £90 million decrease in revenues but would result in small benefits of profitability. Both business divisions comprised its specialist services segment, which saw a 10.6% fall in turnover to £42.1 million in the first half of the year.
Chief Executive James Wroath said: “Wincanton has demonstrated agility, innovation and commitment to meet the critical supply chain needs of customers and consumers throughout the country.
“I am greatly encouraged by the new contracts we have secured so far this year to become a key partner for some of Britain’s biggest brands and public bodies, and we continue to see a healthy pipeline of new opportunities coming to market.”
He concludes: “Performance has been resilient in the first half, we expect the good momentum with which we end the period to continue and consequently expect results for current year to be materially ahead of market expectations.”