Bathroom manufacturer’s sales improve with currency movements

Birmingham’s Samuel Heath & Sons has seen sales improve thanks to the strength of the dollar.

The luxury bathroom manufacturer reported a sales increase of 9.5% to £7.56m (2021: £6.9m) and puts this down to currency movements rather than volume growth as a significant proportion of foreign sales denominated in dollars.

Profit before tax was £521,000 compared to £776,000 in the six months to 30 September 2021. As expected, costs have increased since last year for a number of reasons. A decision was also taken to restore selling and marketing costs to pre-pandemic levels, particularly by resuming attendance at international trade fairs but also in augmenting our sales teams at home and abroad.

Another area where costs were increased is product development where more frequent new product launches are targeted.

As with every company, Samuel Heath has been affected by the rise in energy and other costs, with our combined electricity and gas costs more than doubling. To avoid supply chain disruption, the firm has increased order lead times and built stock levels, so as to minimise delays in production.

In addition, the recruitment market is very difficult, particularly for the skills required on the factory floor; this is a key concern in light of inevitable retirements in its ‘loyal but ageing workforce’.

In the trading statement, chair Anthony Buttanshaw said: “First half performance was commendable in the current economic environment and the executive team are to be congratulated for managing the challenges so well.
“The order book has held up well to date, but talk of a worldwide recession is likely to affect customer sentiment. Strains on the supply chain and labour market are of increasing concern and energy costs will increase further. We are therefore hesitant to predict a result for the second half of the year.