Westcoast's chairman Hermani on rapid growth in mainland Europe and why France is the 'rising star' of the business

Tom Wright
clock • 2 min read
Westcoast's chairman Hermani on rapid growth in mainland Europe and why France is the 'rising star' of the business

Distie's chairman says French business will grow 35 per cent this year

Westcoast chairman Joe Hemani has opened up on the distie's continued growth in mainland Europe, dubbing France the "rising star".

Speaking at Canalys Channels Forum Hemani said that Westcoast's French region is outpacing other operations on the continent, adding that the Theale-based firm is seeing growth across the board this year.

"We're doing really well in France, which is the rising star," he said.

"We will increase our business by 35 per cent in France this year and we've got some new vendors that we are introducing to our product portfolio."

Hemani added that growth in other European regions has been tougher, but said that business has increased nonetheless.

"It is always difficult to find the right people and to get the right people in Spain and Benelux regions has not been so easy for us," he explained.

"I won't say we're struggling, but I'd say out growth there has not been as sharp. We'll grow in Spain and 11 other European countries by 15-18 per cent this year."

Westcoast recently filed accounts for the year ending 31 December 2019 with Companies House.

Sales for the whole group climbed 12 per cent to £2.3bn, while European revenue rocketed 39 per cent to £259.76m.

Hemani said that in the current year he expects sales to climb around 25 per cent, with the bottom line jumping around 30 per cent.

He said the growth is "unquestionably" a result in demand for PCs, but added that he sees "bumps in the road" in terms of navigating product shortages and supply chain issues.

The chairman was also asked whether Amazon is a threat to distribution and the wider channel, but said he think the US giant has "bigger fish to fry".

"I don't think they can be stopped and I don't think they should be stopped," he said.

"I think there is good and bad. The good is that we all have to focus and become razor sharp in the way we operate, because if it's not Amazon it will be someone else. So we all have to up our game.

"Yes they have had growth, but so have we.

"Amazon cannot be all things to all men… there isn't as much margin in our industry as there is in other industries that they are pursuing. You will not get the best return in our industry, from Amazon's point of view."

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