Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Logistics firm pays back millions in furlough cash in light of strong performance

on .

Wincanton's automated eFulfilment facility in Rockingham


Logistics firm Wincanton has paid back furlough cash it received at the start of the pandemic last year, in light of strong financial results.

The Chippenham-based firm announced today it has paid back £5.8 million it claimed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to protect jobs in its retained, closed book business.

Figures released today ahead of the publication of its full results on 20 May show the company's digital and e-fulfilment division reporting year-on-year growth of 40 percent in Q4, while its public and industrial division is expected to show year-on-year improvements of 10 percent.

Overall, revenue is expected to be around 15 percent ahead of the prior year.

Digital and e-fulfilment was bolstered by the start-up of new business for Dobbies and Dwell and the commencement of operations at its West London Customer Fulfilment Centre for Waitrose.

The Waitrose fulfilment centre has been running for just over three weeks and, in that time, the team has picked and dispatched close to 20,000 orders.

The public and industrial sector was given a boost by contracts covering Inland Border Clearance services and the storage and distribution of Covid-19 testing kits, and the Group has experienced improved volumes for its building materials customers.

Elsewhere, the group will be leasing a state-of-the-art, automated e-fulfilment facility in Rockingham, Northamptonshire, as part of its ongoing strategy to extend its e-commerce proposition, creating additional capacity to drive expansion.

The 528,000 sq ft facility has already enabled the Group to secure business with DIY giant B&Q and fast-growing online furniture retailer Snug, and there is a healthy pipeline of further opportunities.

James Wroath, chief executive officer of Wincanton, commented: “Wincanton has delivered another strong performance, maintaining our positive momentum throughout the final quarter of the year. Our people have met the challenges associated with operating in another lockdown and it is very satisfying to see all four parts of the business in growth and contributing positively to the Group.

“We are also delighted to have expanded our e-fulfilment capabilities and capacity further with our new site in Rockingham. This serves as a marker of our ambitions to capitalise on the growth opportunities presented by the increasing prominence of online retail.”