Safestyle UK reports strong recovery since lockdown despite recording an underlying loss of £5.1million in the first half of 2020, according to the group’s interim results published this week.

The group had a strong start before lockdown with sales and profitability up on 2019, market share grew to 9.2% in Q1 over 8.5 in 2019 and order intake was strong after the May restart, with 26.4% year on year growth in June-August.

Increased demand led the group to take on more staff across survey, manufacturing, customer services and installation but it experienced ‘some operational challenges linked to the ramp up in capacity, the service / warranty backlog from lockdown and recent, temporary disruption to the supply chain’ – the latter possibly including the administration and sale involving its profile supplier Duraflex.

CEO Mike Gallacher said in summary: “The first half of 2020 presented some major management and operational challenges which were successfully navigated with strong support from our shareholders, effective Government intervention and the efforts of all of our staff.  Clearly their health and safety, along with that of our customers, was our priority during the lockdown period.

“Since we re-emerged from lockdown, our strong order intake performance has been sustained and we have moved to ramp up operational capacity to match this demand.  We have experienced some operational challenges linked to recovering the backlog of warranty work from the lockdown, our growth and recent supplier performance.  We are focused on ensuring that the impact of these issues on our good customer service levels is addressed promptly.

“Concurrently, despite the challenges in the first half of 2020 our team have been able to make tangible progress on our longer-term strategic priorities.  This includes modernising our brand, professionalising our sales force and  embedding best practice compliance processes.”

He concluded: “It is not yet clear if the recent strong trading performance is sustainable in light of the current economic environment and any uncertainty is likely to impact consumer confidence.  However our strong order book, our position as a leading national value brand and the progress made on modernising the business leaves us well positioned to sustain our momentum as we move into 2021.”