JW FILSHILL is ramping up investment in category management for KeyStore retailers with the appointment of its first dedicated space planner.

Iain Main joins the Glasgow-based wholesaler as category range planner having worked with food retailers for over 20 years, starting his career on the Safeway management training programme then enjoying successful periods with Somerfield and the Co-op. He also managed a BP forecourt store.

Immediately prior to taking up his new role, Main spent nearly six years as a space planner with Trespass, the outdoor clothing retailer which also owns Nevisport shops.

Craig Brown, chief sales and marketing officer at JW Filshill, commented: “We’re working more closely than ever before with our KeyStore customers to ensure that we have the most effective category management plans in place for them – we know it’s not always a ‘one size fits all’ approach so it’s all about really understanding their businesses.

“Iain comes to Filshill with vast experience in range and space planning at a time when the convenience retail marketplace has never been more competitive – that’s why it’s crucial that we build planograms designed to help customers grow their businesses.

“We’re delighted to welcome someone of Iain’s calibre to the Filshill family as our first-ever dedicated category range planner – he is working with customers on a one-to-one basis and they are benefiting from his experience and enthusiasm.”

Iain, a graduate of the University of Glasgow who originally comes from Thurso, worked as a pizza chef and managed McDonald’s outlets before finding his niche as a category management professional.

He said: “Filshill is a dynamic and forward-thinking company and I have joined the company at a time when it is experiencing excellent growth and a high profile for its fast-growing KeyStore convenience brand.

“We are building planograms for every category and as well as setting up systems to enable us to plan and review each category, I am also working with Filshill’s experienced buyers and have input into decisions on range based on my knowledge of customers and their stores.”

Meanwhile, Rory Galbraith, a newcomer to the wholesale industry, has joined Filshill as a category buyer having spent three years at bus builder Alexander Dennis in various positions, including commodity buyer and commercial contract manager. He also worked at TGK Logistics as a delivery specialist prior to joining Filshill.

Rory said that he was particularly attracted to Filshill after visiting a couple of KeyStore outlets near his home in Clarkston, Glasgow and hearing how the company supports its customers and the communities they serve.

“Everyone I spoke to was so positive about Filshill and I was particularly impressed to hear how they had worked with customers to help them adapt during the pandemic,” said Rory. “I was told that it was a very ‘hands on’ business and that was confirmed when I saw the directors in T-shirts helping staff and getting their hands dirty.”

Admitting that his first few months at Filshill have been a “steep learning curve”, Rory added: “It’s been hard work and a steep learning curve for me learning about both the company and wider wholesale industry but it’s like a big family and I’ve been warmly welcomed into it.

“Everyone across all departments and at all levels is incredibly supportive and encouraging, and I’m building up strong relationships of my own with suppliers now, particularly in grocery and beers, wines and spirits.”

Craig Brown commented: “As our business grows and we prepare to move into our new premises near Glasgow Airport in the coming weeks, we are ramping up resources across the board including our buying team.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Rory to the Filshill family to work with our teams to stimulate growth and increase profitability of both our business and our customers’ businesses in a competitive marketplace.”

Filshill, a fifth-generation business and one of Scotland’s oldest independent food and drink wholesalers, saw turnover soar to £191 million – up 23% from £155 million – in the year ending January 31, 2021.

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