Portmeirion Group, the owner of the Portmeirion, Spode and Royal Worcester pottery and ceramics brands says that selling online has helped it to grow its sales by more than a third in the first half of its financial year. Fifty-one per cent of its sales in its key US and UK markets were online during the six-month period, as demand for its pottery recovered following the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic and as customers bought direct.
Portmeirion says its business has not only recovered to pre-pandemic levels but is beating them, with first half sales up by 24% compared to the first half of 2019. Now it plans to invest further in online transformation.
Today it reported record group sales of £43.1m in the half year to June 30, 35% up on the same time last year, with online sales 15% up on last time – and 124% ahead of two years ago. Sales through all its online channels account for 51% of sales in both the US and UK markets. The US is the group’s largest market, with 35% of sales taking place there, followed by the UK (31%). Sales in South Korea, its third largest market, grew by 57% on last year, and sales in the rest of the world by 93%. Pre-tax profits before one-off costs of £1.5m have turned around from a pre-tax loss of £2.6m in 2020.
Portmeirion chief executive Mike Raybould says: “We have seen strong trading in the first half of the financial year, including a significant benefit from the focus on our online transformation strategy. Since the period end trading has continued that trend into the first two months of the second half of the financial year. Looking forward we continue to have a strong order book across our key markets. While we are cognisant of the ongoing, widely reported disruption and volatility in global supply chains we are confident the accelerated strategic investments we are making across our business will enable a strong path of growth in the next few years.
“Our products are much loved by our customers around the world and this is borne out by the speed of recovery in demand we are seeing across our key markets. Our brands are well known for their high-quality design and manufacture and, in addition, we now have a huge opportunity to deepen the direct relationship we have with the end consumer as well as attracting new direct customers, as we grow the percentage of sales made through our own digital channels.”
Portmeirion says it has hired new digital marketing and online sales staff in the last year and will continue to invest in both front end and back end web systems as well as customer data systems. It is also building extra direct-to-consumer warehouse capacity to meet its forecasted growth.