Victorian Plumbing invests for growth – and posts flat full-year sales and a 40% fall in pre-tax profits

Image: Joe Gough/Shutterstock

Image: Joe Gough/Shutterstock

Victorian Plumbing is investing in growth as it targets both consumers and trade customers – and says its potential market has room to grow in coming years. As yet, says the online bathroom retailer, Mintel research suggests that 31% of bathroom products and accessories are bought online and it expects “our addressable market to grow even further in the coming years.”

The shift online, it says, has slowed post-pandemic, but it believes there’s still plenty of room for growth in the future. 

Victorian Plumbing, ranked Top250 in RXUK Top500 research, is expanding its warehouse and its ranges in order to become a one-stop shop for bathroom buyers, while continuing to spend more on marketing as it looks to become a first port of call.

It is also replatforming its website in order to improve the customer experience, while developing and testing a new mobile app for trade customers.

Full-year figures

The update comes as Victorian Plumbing today reports revenues of £269.4m for the year to September 30 2022. That’s flat on the £268.8m it reported a year ago. Average order values rose 3% to £306, and unique visitor numbers grew 3% to 2.67m but total orders fell by 3% to 880,000 during the year, although gaining 2% in the second half of the year. 

During the year, 20% of revenues were from trade customers (+25% to £52.8m) following a targeted radio advertising campaign. The retailer now plans a further cross-channel advertising campaign in the current financial year as it looks to boost brand awareness.

Pre-tax profits of £11.8m were 40% down from £19.7m a year earlier. The fall reflects a 24% rise in property costs following investment in warehousing, a 9% increase in marketing costs, and a 17% rise in labour costs, reflecting both pay inflation and workforce expansion. 

So far in the current financial year, sales have grown by 10%.

During the year Victorian Plumbing expanded its ranges of tiles (+56%) and lighting (+53%) and plans to grow its warehouse space further to enable further growth in those categories – enabling shoppers to buy everything they need on its website – while making its business more efficient. As of September 30, it stocked a range of more than 32,000 products from more than 130 brands. 

During the year marketing spend increased to 28% of revenue as the retailer invested to drive post-Covid-19 demand. This, says Victorian Plumbing, has resulted in “significant market share gains”. 

Mark Radcliffe, founder and chief executive of Victorian Plumbing Group, says: “Following a tough first half of the financial year, we have returned to growth in the second half, increasing our market share and establishing our position as the UK’s No 1 bathroom retailer. Our distinctive brand and extensive choice of quality bathroom products – including quality own-brand ranges and an unrivalled suite of third-party options – remain compelling drivers in attracting consumers to Victorian Plumbing, whilst the strength of our supply chain and our strategic investment in inventory means that the majority of our products have high availability.

“As a highly cash generative business with a strong balance sheet and growing momentum through 2022 and into 2023, we see the macro operating and economic environment as an opportunity to further strengthen our market position and we enter the new financial year as the UK’s No 1 bathroom retailer with confidence and real excitement in our plans for further progress.”

Victorian Plumbing signed a new £10m revolving credit facility in June 2021 running until June 2024, which remained undrawn through the year. 

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