Sales in line at Howdens; fitted bedroom ranges to rollout

Kitchen and joinery supplier Howdens has reported flat sales as profit declined.

According to its 2023 full year results, total sales generated £2.3bn, in line with that of the previous year, while 45% up on 2019.

UK sales were down slightly by 0.7% to £2.2bn, while international revenues rose 11% to £69.8m.

Pre-tax profit resulted at £327.6m, down 19.3% from £405.8m recorded in the previous year.

Howdens said that gross margins broadly maintained at 60.8% despite higher cost inflation and the dilutive impact of growing the sales of everyday joinery products and solid work surfaces which both performed strongly.

During the period, Howdens opened 33 new depots, bringing its total to 840 in the UK. It also revamped 89 older depots, as well as opening 10 international sites.

The company introduced 23 new kitchen ranges and launched a new ‘paint-to-order’ service for its best timber kitchen ranges and successfully trialled a new fitted bedroom range during peak trading. Both initiatives are achieving “encouraging results”.

Looking ahead, Howdens plans to open 30 new depots as well as expanding its manufacturing capability and capacity including new kitchen furniture and range expansion in solid work surfaces, alongside more joinery products.

Furthermore, its new fitted bedroom ranges will feature in all its depots for the first time during 2024.

Commenting on the results Andrew Livingston, Chief Executive said: “The combination of a strong product line-up, high stock availability and outstanding customer service, alongside investments to drive future growth, all contributed to further market share gains in 2023.

“Our established markets for kitchens and joinery in the UK are now estimated to be around £12 billion and we continue to seek further opportunities in adjacent markets. The focus remains on executing our strategic initiatives at pace to capitalise on this attractive, long-term growth opportunity, while selectively expanding Howdens’ differentiated, trade-only business model internationally.

“Our robust balance sheet underpins our strategy as we invest in growth, including expanding our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities, and returning surplus capital to shareholders. While we are cautious about the macro-economic and geo-political environment, given the encouraging start to the year and the agility of our business model, the Board is confident in the outlook for 2024.”

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