Record profits for Wax Lyrical owner

Pottery manufacturer Portmeirion has achieved a tenth consecutive year of growth, with its key markets in the UK, USA and South Korea are increasing sales.

The Wax Lyrical and Royal Worcester producer saw revenues and profits reach record highs in 2018. Pre-tax profits rose 10% to £9.7m while sales were up 6% to £89.6m.

Dick Steele, Portmeirion’s non-executive chairman, said: “Our strategy and core values remain unchanged. We are focused on driving profitable sales growth through new product introduction, developing our markets, investing behind our brands and enhancing our operational capabilities and efficiency supported with complementary strategic acquisitions.”

Domestic sales were up 9%, driven by increased online and home fragrance sales, and the UK now accounts for 35% of the group’s revenues.

Sales in the American market increased by 10%, but the stronger pound meant this converted to a 6% increase in sterling.

Revenues from the rest of the world were only slightly higher than a year earlier, with improvements to Portmeirion’s third-largest market, South Korea, being pulled down by a planned reduction in sales to India.

The Stoke-on-Trent company is optimistic about its prospects for the current year, buoyed by a good start to 2019.

Steele added: “We look forward into 2019 with confidence and at this very early stage of the year expect trading to be in line with expectations for the full year.”

It has increased its dividend, also for the tenth consecutive year. Its total dividend of 37.5p is 8% higher than a year ago.