Revenue and profits are down at pottery firm Portmeirion following a ‘challenging’ year in business.
For the 12 months to December 31, 2020, the Stoke-based firm recorded revenue of £87.9m – down from £92.8m in 2019, while pre-tax profits fell by £6m from £7.4m to £1.4m.
But Portmeirion CEO Mike Raybould says he is ‘encouraged’ after seeing the company’s strong performance in the second half of last year continue into 2021.
He added that he was pleased to see that online sales significantly increased – by 69 per cent – in 2020 as Covid-19 forced the closure of retail and hospitality businesses across the UK and beyond.
Mr Raybould said: “We continue to monitor the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on all parts of our business. Like many, Covid-19 has significantly disrupted our business and there continues to be disruption in key sales markets and international supply channels in the first quarter of 2021 due to national and local lockdowns.
“However, the strong growth we have experienced in online sales channels has mitigated much of the impact of retailer shutdowns and we are pleased by the improving trend of sales performance we saw in the second half of 2020.
“Encouragingly, we have continued to see this improving trend in the first quarter of 2021 and therefore remain confident of returning to sales growth in 2021.”
In June, Portmeirion – which owns the Spode, Wax Lyrical, Nambe, Royal Worcester and Pimpernel brands – completed a £11.2 million equity raise.
It used the money to help grow its online sales and invest in manufacturing facilities at its London Road factory.
It also extended some of its Wax Lyrical product lines and acquired the remaining 50 per cent stake in Portmeirion Canada.
Also last year, the company undertook a major restructure of its board after former CEO Lawrence Bryan and former group sales and marketing director Phil Atherton stepped down.
Jacqui Gale and Bill Robedee subsequently joined the board and Clare Askem was appointed as non-executive director.
Now Portmeirion has unveiled a three-year roadmap which includes a major investment at its Stoke-on-Trent factory to increase capacity, make it more cost-effective and ensure it is ‘environmentally sound.’
It also wants to further invest in its online sales channels and develop new products – particularly under the Spode brand, which marked its 250th birthday in 2020.
BusinessLive is your home for business news from around the country – and you can stay in touch with all the latest news through our email alerts.
You can sign up to receive daily morning news bulletins from every region we cover and to weekly email bulletins covering key economic sectors from manufacturing to technology and enterprise. And we’ll send out breaking news alerts for any stories we think you can’t miss.
Visit our email preference centre to sign up to all the latest news from BusinessLive.
Mr Raybould said: “Following the successful equity raise in June 2020, and despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, we have increased our investment into the business and made a number of strategic hires, in particular expanding our online and digital marketing teams and making our operations more efficient.
“We have continued our transformation to a more online and digital-based business and we will continue to invest in this area and our capabilities and expect to see further growth in the years ahead.
“We believe this investment places our business and brands in the best possible position to grow strongly and profitably in the coming years.
“We have a strong balance sheet, a well-invested business and a clear strategy which we believe will enable us to prosper in the medium to long-term.
“We remain alert to further potential disruption in our key markets, but are confident of returning to growth in 2021.”