John Lewis of Hungerford celebrates record sales in milestone year

Kitchens and fitted furniture manufacturer and retailer, John Lewis of Hungerford, has reported record sales in what was its 50th anniversary year.

According to its final results for the year ended 30 June 2022, total sales rose 30.9% to £10.3m from £7.9m in 2021, the first time the company has achieved sales in excess of £10m.

Pre-tax profit and non-recurring costs resulted at £166,000, up from £80,000, with  underlying EBITDA at £500,000, increasing from £424,000 year-on-year.

Kiran Noonan, Chief Executive Officer at John Lewis of Hungerford, said the sales growth did not fully reflect the strength of the trading performance of the Company throughout the reported year. “The orders secured by our 12 stores were £12.3m (FY21: £9.3m). The final quarter of the year was impacted by disruption from Covid-19 within the factory in Wantage, with the highest level of interruption to production throughout the pandemic and a total of 81-man days lost.

“This included periods where sections of the factory had to close completely. Without this disruption, a still higher proportion of the £12.3m orders would have been completed before 30 June 2022, and recognised as sales in the year, with the Gross Margin on these sales flowing through to profit. However, this disruption to the final quarter of FY22 has impacted positively the start of our new financial year to 30 June 2023, with a significantly stronger order book secured, of £5.3m compared to £3.2m at the same point last year.”

The company said that Gross Margin for the year declined by -1.2% points in the year to 45.9%, with the business experiencing some “extreme increases in raw material prices in the year, with some increases more than 100%”. The Company took action to pass these cost increases on, by raising the retail prices. It is now seeing signs of some level of stabilisation for raw material prices.

Furthermore, the acquisition of its new storage facility on the Grove Business Park in Wantage has been “integral” to facilitating growth. “With the increased throughput in our production facility, it has been vital to work with our highly committed and effective workforce to improve the operating model and make efficiency gains, as we plan for continued growth,” Kiran added.

In the summer of 2022, the business celebrated its 50th anniversary milestone and launched a new brochure as part of these celebrations, which was “extremely well received”, as Kiran comments: “It is a ground-breaking piece of work, providing both inspiration and learning for our customer, to support our dialogue during the sale. This has helped our customers to appreciate the difference in the unique customer experience offered by the John Lewis of Hungerford team.

“Our 50th Birthday in the summer coincided with the Jubilee celebrations for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We were given the opportunity to feature in the widely distributed official publication for the Platinum Jubilee, celebrating the Best of British Manufacturing. We were delighted have been invited to be a part of this highly respected publication and have seen benefits from the high value clientele it has attracted into the Company.”

Looking ahead, John Lewis of Hungerford said that dispatched sales, forward committed orders and future orders against which a first stage deposit has been taken, stood at £8.6m (2021: £7.4m). “New business has remained consistent and with improvements driven by the digital marketing strategy, the quality of quoted business is strong and we remain confident of our ability to continue to convert at a high level moving forward.”

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