Demand climbing despite Covid-19 setback for Johnson Service Group

The boss of textile rental and workwear firm Johnson Service Group remain optimistic despite a tough first half for the company due to Covid-19 challenges.

Results for the six months to end of June 2021 highlight the impact of the pandemic on its revenues, particularly its Hotels, Restaurants and Catering (HORECA) division as a number of sites were mothballed due to fluctuating consumer demand as lockdown regulations continued to be altered over the year.

The company reported revenues of £99.6m which is down from £114.8m for the same period last year and a pre-tax loss of £14m, which has narrowed from £18.6m in June 2020.

It reported an adjusted EBITDA of £16.9m, down from last year’s £24.9m.

Workwear continued to operate throughout the various lockdowns with volumes remaining fairly robust and reaching 98% of normal levels in June 2021.  Customer retention levels were 95% during the period to the end of July.

Johnson said volumes in HORECA sites have climbed rapidly from mid-April to reach over 70% in June and over 80% in August, with some sites in tourist areas back to 2019 levels.

It said all furloughed staff have also returned and since March the group has recruited “a significant number” of employees to match production capacity to increasing volumes.

A head of sustainability has also been appointed to “refresh and reset” its Sustainability Strategy in early 2022.

Peter Egan

Peter Egan, chief executive of Johnson Service Group, said: “During the first half, we have experienced a consistently robust performance from our Workwear business and a notable return of demand in HORECA, particularly driven by the staycation activity in early summer.

“It remains difficult to give guidance for the coming months however, in the absence of increased restrictions, we expect that we will announce results for the year towards the higher end of current market expectations.”

He added: “With our established customer base and well invested infrastructure, coupled with a strong balance sheet and £175 million of committed bank facilities, we are well placed to drive growth in our performance as we move through the remainder of the year and beyond.”