Franchise group sees big bounce back as lockdown restrictions ease

Stephen Hemsley

Franchise Brands, the Macclesfield-based multi-brand franchise business, said today that it expects to achieve half year results at least in line with market expectations.

In a trading update for the six month period to June 30, the business said its franchisees have been able to increase activity as the country has emerged from pandemic lockdown measures.

System sales at Metro Rod have returned to their strong pre-COVID growth levels, increasing by 21% compared with the first half of 2020 and 17% compared with the 2019 first half.

This represents record system sales of £23.8m for the six month period (H1 2020: £19.7m; H1 2019: £20.2m).

The growth accelerated during the period as restrictions have been eased resulting in record system sales in June of £4.3m, an increase of 41% compared with the first half of 2020 and 26% compared with half one in 2019.

Willow Pumps, which was acquired in October 2019, has a greater exposure to hospitality and was more impacted by lockdown.

However, invoiced sales increased by around nine per cent compared with the same period in 2020.

In addition, Willow Pumps continues to facilitate the growth of pump-related work within Metro Rod, where pumps system sales by franchisees have increased 159% to £0.7m (H1 2020: £0.3m).

The B2C division has also performed strongly, and 40 new franchisees have been recruited (H1 2020: 27; H1 2019: 34) taking the number of B2C franchisees to 393 (H1 2020: 389; H1 2019: 394).

Overall, the group’s trading in the first half gives the board strong confidence in delivering a full year performance at least in line with market expectations and it will provide a further update on current trading and outlook at the time of the half year results, which it expects to announce on July 22.

Executive chairman, Stephen Hemsley, said: “I have been pleased by the speed at which the demand for our services has grown as the lockdown restrictions have been lifted.

“Throughout the pandemic I have been particularly encouraged by the resilience of our franchisees. Their entrepreneurial spirit and continued commitment to serve our customers gives me huge confidence in the future of Franchise Brands.”

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