Home furnishings firm Barker & Stonehouse says pent-up demand following lockdowns is giving the firm a boost during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The family-owned firm, which has 11 stores including its flagship Teesside Retail Park shop in Stockton, has posted accounts for the year ended March 29 2020, which show turnover dipped slightly, from £77.5m to £75.1m, which the firm puts down to the impact of the early days of the pandemic.
Operating profit, however, jumped 17% from £2.52m to £2.96m – a performance the directors described as “satisfactory” – and since the year end its performance has continued to improve.
In a report accompanying the accounts, directors said: “Since reopening, post-lockdown, trading in all stores has been above that of last year, due to a degree of pent-up demand. Despite this year’s unprecedented Covid situation, the company is up-to-date with his corporate PAYE, VAT taxation liabilities and with all landlords.
“Our suppliers have also been paid on time throughout the year. Like many homewares businesses, the company has traded strongly since the year end despite the pandemic.“
The group, which has 385 full time equivalent employees, also said it disposed of its final legacy property in Teesside, and that dividends paid out during the year totalled £264,000, down on the previous year’s £363,000.
The company added that during the year it had been continuing its work to reduce its carbon footprint – work which has also helped thousands of families as part of the Trees4Trees reforestation project that managing director James Barker launched more than 10 years ago.
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The firm added: “During this time, working with the Carbon Trust, we have managed a significant reduction in omissions, surpassing standards set as excellent by Government bodies. The company is also working with experts from Newcastle University to establish a route to become carbon neutral.
“The company is also one of the founding partners in an Indonesian reforestation project, Trees4Trees.
“The programme works with universities, farmers and landowners to ensure a virtuous circle of education, commerce and community benefits to date the company has planted over 1,500,000 trees helping over 14,000 families to build a better life for themselves by earning a sustainable income and understanding the part they play in environmental stewardship.”
Barker and Stonehouse has stores in Stockton,Darlington, Newcastle, Leeds, Hull, Knaresborough, Nottingham, Guildford, Hove and Battersea and also has warehouses in Middlesborough, Blaydon, Eggborough and Crawley.