Whitworths announces its annual results for financial year 2020 (53wk ending December 2020). 

In summary: 

  • Whitworths returns to operating profit in 2020 (operating profit £3.4m 2020 vs £0.6m loss in 2019)
  • Topline revenue growth is up 19% at £25m (£142m 2020 vs. £117m 2019)
  • Turnover improvement has been driven by significant business wins, brand innovation and expansion towards a more diversified customer base

2020 Business Performance

Whitworths’ improvements continuefor the fourth consecutive year with success attributed to: 

  1. A continued focus on removing non-core and non-profit making business
  2. Brand innovation and diversification of the customer base, through the launch of NPD like Whitworths’ Protein by Nature range. Created in response to consumer trends around natural protein and meat reduction, the Protein by Nature range of beans, pulses and grain pouches is a step change for Whitworths, delivering outside of the brand’s heritage in dried fruit and nuts. Further innovation in savoury nuts is expected by Whitworths later this year as the business uses its nut sourcing capability to add to the growth in evening snacking. The brands repositioning and focus on healthier snacking comes as only 8% of all consumption occasions are around sweet baking. 
  3. A largely positive impact of COVID-19 on the business over the past year, despite the brand being hit during this period. Although the business has incurred some increased costs to ensure the site and the workforce are COVID-19 safe, Whitworths continued to fully operate during the COVID-19 period, to provide the continued service that is expected by Whitworths’ customers.

Exciting Future

Whitworths is looking to further diversify its customer base with some new business wins, a new channel distribution agreement and further brand innovation in 2021 and beyond – including the implementation of packaging redesign, recycling roll out and a packaging reduction programme. In addition to this, plans for increased brand support will commence later this year seeing Whitworths return to TV screens nationwide with the launch of a new 60 second TV creative. Further afield, momentum is gathering in Whitworths’ export business, especially with activity in the Middle East, China and North America. 

Commitment to Whitworths’ site regeneration project that commenced in June 2019, is continuing in 2021 after delays due to COVID-19. With a re-investment by the end of 2021 of £8m, plans are to complete the project in the next two years investing in total approximately £10m. The site regeneration will enhance the long-term success of the business by improving capacity and ongoing productivity, while decreasing environmental impact.

Mark Fairweather, Whitworth’s CEO comments: “We’re pleased to see our hard work pay off with results improvement for a 4thconsecutive year which can be attributed to a clear focus on our core strategy. Having repositioned our brand into healthy snacking, the launch of Whitworths’ Protein By Nature ready-to-eat range is our first step in diversifying further in to healthier mealtimes and taking us into a whole new category while retaining our natural credentials. We’ve been working hard, and are extremely committed, to the site regeneration and ongoing investment for long term success. Our export business is gathering momentum and we look forward to seeing the results of this activity in the future.”