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Annual profits and sales rise for timber chain

By John Corser | Dudley | Business | Published:

Timber merchants chain James Latham has reported growth in both profits and sales for the year to the end of March.

James Latham's base in Dudley

The group, which includes a branch at Yorks Park, Dudley, saw revenue rise 5.1 per cent to £247.1 million with the growth mainly due to a 1.5 per cent rise in volume of deliveries

Pre-tax profit was up £400,000 on the previous year to £15.7m.

The board has declared a final dividend of 10p per ordinary share and considers this level of dividend to be prudent given the balance between the good results achieved in the yea and the difficult market conditions experienced during the first quarter of the current financial year caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chauirman Nick Latham said the board responded quickly and decisively to protect the business and the employees from Covid-19, with quick action to reduce costs where possible, manage the stock and preserve cash.

"Covid-19 has had a considerable affect on the start of our trading year. We remained open at most of our distribution sites to support NHS projects and other essential services, as well as servicing our customers that managed to remain open.

"April was a particularly challenging month with sales at 40 per cent of April 2019 sales. We have seen more customers coming back to work throughout May, with positive trends on numbers of orders taken and total number of trading customers, with sales at 60 per cent of May 2019 sales. This positive trend is continuing in June, and sales are expected to be 80 per cent of June 2019 sales.

"I have been incredibly pleased at how our staff have managed to work through this challenging period, and the resilience of the business. The skill of our senior staff with the support of the board has undoubtedly limited the negative impact of Covid-19 on the business. The full impact of the virus and the effect on the wider economy are impossible to predict at this stage," said Mr Latha

The board believes that there are plenty of opportunities to develop and grow the business.

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"The strength of the business will allow us to avoid the worst of any potential downturn in the economy and seize on any opportunities to further develop the business. We will continue to look to grow the business through any suitable acquisitions to support key market sectors and also identify new products in market sectors where we are focussing our efforts. We will continue to invest in our warehouses and extend the working day at our depots to ensure that we meet the future delivery needs of our existing and new customers," added Mr Latham.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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