Family-run German kitchen manufacturer Schüller has reported a positive year in 2020 with sales up 8.4% to €600.8 million (£522.8m).
Schüller described 2020 as “a year characterised by significant social and economic challenges” due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with its Franconia factory entering a period of short-time working in April.
Despite this, the company grew sales at home and to export and invested in further production space, expansion of on-site facilities and pushed forward with its digital training programmes.
Overall sales were up 8.4% to €600.8m. In its home market, sales rose by 9.8% to €451.3m, while in a “difficult export environment” Schüller increased by 4.6% to €149.5m.
The company said that March and April, with international lockdowns and company shutdowns, led to supply challenges and a “considerable drop in sales”. By May, however, with signs of positive consumer behaviour, Schüller saw sales return to the same level as 2019. This positive trend, it said, continued throughout the remainder of 2020.
The company invested in new production halls at its Herrieden facility. Work started on this at the end of 2020 and will continue until September this year. It also invested in a new 9,500sq m car park and created a new 23-hectare green space around its facility. Schüller spent around €69m in total during 2020 on infrastructure, buildings, technical facilities, fleet vehicles and office equipment.
Because of the pandemic, the company could not hold its usual Küchenmeile event and so created a digital presentation and sent regular newsletters to keep its trading partners informed of new developments.
Schüller also extended its online service portal for its customers to include digital sales, manuals and direct downloads and has run webinars, live online seminars and web-based training sessions.
The manufacturer increased its employee count during 2020 by 4.9% to 1,929 and the took measures to minimise the threat from Covid by implementing compulsory face mask wearing, social distancing and has been offering rapid tests to staff during January 2021 to ensure a safe start to the new year.
The company also recruited 39 young people at Herrieden, which increased the number it has in training to 123. During 2020, it opened the Schüller Learn Center as a place to exchange skills, gain qualifications and promote the personal development of its staff.
2020 was also a year when Schüller gained many design awards, along them the German Design Award and Best of Interior Award for its next124=5 trolley, plus the Iconic Award for its next125 glass cabinet.
The company has also pledged to gain certification as a climate-neutral furniture manufacturer from the Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel (DGM).
Schüller stated that it is optimistic for the year ahead and added that “when it comes to the trade fairs and events, we are cautiously optimistic that this is something we can look forward to in the autumn”.