Pottery manufacturer Churchill China saw revenue and profit fall significantly in 2020 as the hospitality sector faced huge challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Revenue at the Stoke-on-Trent business fell by 46 per cent in 2020, from £67.5 million in 2019 to £36.4 million.
At the same time, pre-tax profit dropped to just £91,000 from £11.2 million.
The company has attributed the results to the huge challenges faced by bars, cafes and restaurants during the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.
But bosses say Churchill China is “well-positioned” to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2021.
Chairman Alan McWalter, said: “2020 was an extraordinary year for Churchill bringing many challenges.
“The first two and a half months of the year exemplified the success of our forward strategy delivering record hospitality sales.
“The remainder of the year demonstrated the characteristics of agility, resilience and long-term focus that have always underpinned our approach to business.
“Despite our core hospitality markets being amongst the most affected by Covid, we remained profitable across the year, maintained a strong financial position and continued to invest in and develop our business for the longer term.”
Mr McWalter added: “We acted quickly and decisively to address the short term impacts of the pandemic on our trading and operations, reducing output levels to balance the safety of our employees with lower, but efficient, production and the maintenance of the security of our business.
“We were clear that we wished to continue to invest in our longer term position and as such have continued to prioritise product innovation, distribution development, improvements in our manufacturing capability and in the sustainability of our operations. While our markets have been subdued, we have continued to reinforce our place within them, positioning us well to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.”
Despite the challenges of 2020, the manufacturer has pressed ahead with a number of investment projects.
This includes the installation of a more sustainable kiln and two small extensions at its factory. Work has now started on further improvements at the Sandyford site.
The company has also recently appointed Mark Moore as non-executive director at Churchill China.
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Mr McWalter said: “Despite the level of government restrictions on worldwide hospitality markets in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, there is now growing evidence from enquiries, order levels and sales that activity levels are recovering across our markets.
“Churchill is a long established resilient business with strong foundations. Whilst we recognise that there may be further volatility and effects from Covid-19 we believe that we are well placed to build momentum in our trading performance throughout the rest of the year.
“The progress demonstrated in the first weeks of 2020, where our hospitality revenues were significantly ahead of the same period in 2019, sets the performance benchmark that our strategy can deliver. Our task now is to return the business to those levels.”