Sales and profits at ‘record levels’ for Howdens

Sales at Howdens for the first half of the year have shot up by 20% compared to 2019 and nearly 70% against the same period in 2020.

This performance, said chief executive Andrew Livingstone, meant sales and pre-tax profit were at ‘record levels’ for the period.

For the first half of 2021, sales hit £764m and pre-tax profit reached £119.2m.  The company made a loss of £14.2m in the first half of 2020, reflecting the impact of the initial covid lockdown.

“Howdens delivered a very strong performance in the first half of 2021, with sales and profit before tax at record levels for the period,” Livingstone said. “Sales were 69% higher than the first half of 2020 – which was materially impacted by covid –  and 20% higher than the comparator period in 2019. Sales of ‘everyday’ and promotional items were particularly strong and our profit, compared with 2019, increased at a faster rate than sales.”

Livingstone also confirmed that the company’s roll out of new depots would continue, in the first half of 2021 seven new sites opened and one closed in the UK, bringing the total to 754.

However, while acknowledging ongoing uncertainties Livingstone said he believes there is potential for “at least” 900 depots in the UK.

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“This robust performance demonstrates the strength of our trade only, in-stock, local business model and the benefit of pent-up demand as people choose to spend more on their homes. With that in mind, we now believe there is potential for at least 900 depots in the UK, including 20-25 in Northern Ireland, and plan to start testing the Howdens model in the Republic of Ireland in 2022.

“While we are aware that economic uncertainties persist and also of the strong comparatives we will trade against in the second half, we are encouraged by the progress made so far in 2021 and remain confident in our business model for the future.”

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