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  • Hugo Walker

Castell Howell showcases post-pandemic resilience as it posts record revenues

Castell Howell, the Carmarthenshire-based independent wholesaler behind brands such as Celtica Foods, Farm Fresh and Chef Selections, has bounced back after the pandemic with record revenues.

The wholesaler posted a nearly 60 percent increase in pre-tax profit, to £13.7m, and a 48 percent increase in revenues, to £166m in 2022. This was a surprisingly robust performance given the turbulence with supply chains and energy costs last year.

Castell Howell has its eyes fixed firmly on continued growth, with an R&D plan to the tune of £4m. As finance director Nigel Williams explained: "We are now focused on delivering our investment plans of £4.4m this year in renewing and expanding the vehicle fleet and in moving forward over the course of the next two years, with the expansion of the warehousing and processing capacity at Cross Hands and distribution hub in north west Wales."

Despite challenges with rising costs of living, which squeezed consumer demand, Castell Howell saw consistent sales. Mr Williams continued: "Customer demand so far this year, despite the significant challenges faced by the hospitality sector, has remained resilient, supported by the diversity of the customer base, which includes schools and hospitals as well as our core hospitality sector base.

"We expect turnover to approach £200m for the first time this year and for profits to remain stable despite increases in wage costs and continued pressure on gross margins as a result of the inflationary impact on pricing over the past two years."

While the pandemic was financially devastating for many industries, alternative ways of manufacturing, distributing and retailing have emerged from the lockdown, with a focus on automation, digitisation and flexibility. Businesses like Castell Howell show that the post-pandemic food and beverage industry has, in many cases, built resilience in the face of unprecedented circumstances.

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