Demand rebounds but outlook is uncertain at windows and doors firm

Safestyle, a listed retailer and manufacturer of PVCu replacement windows and doors, says it has seen a “strong rebound” in order intake post-lockdown.

Releasing its trading update for the six months ended 30 June 2020, in advance of its half year result announcement scheduled for 17 September 2020, the Bradford-headquartered business says its order intake for the eight weeks from 25 May was 23.2% ahead of the same period last year.

The Group also notes it was profitable for the months of January, February and June 2020, with net cash of £6m at the end of June 2020 and £3m of the Group’s committed banking facilities undrawn.

But it adds its half one revenues were impacted by the lockdown halting of all activities on 23 March, with installation activities only restarting on 25 May.

As a result, Safestyle says its revenues for the period will be about £42.1m (34.7%) below H1 2019, despite the first two months of the year delivering revenue growth year on year.

The firm notes its net cash position has benefited from the placing of new shares raising £8.2m on 8 April 2020 and a delay in VAT payments agreed with HMRC of £2.7m.

Mike Gallacher, CEO, said: “The lockdown was managed smoothly with a small skeleton staff maintaining our order book, providing emergency customer support and running a trial remote digital sales team.

“The Board took an early decision to accelerate the Group’s return to full operations in response to the strong consumer demand experienced in May and early June.

“Our cash position supported our ability to trade proactively and we have undoubtedly benefited from a slower competitor response since the lockdown lifted.

“Our view is that the combination of deferred lockdown demand and a major shift in consumer spend from travel and leisure to home improvement have driven the increased demand we have experienced.

“Despite very good levels of current consumer demand the medium term economic outlook remains uncertain.

“We will therefore maintain a balanced approach, seeking to grow the business while keeping our costs controlled and net cash position positive.”