Record profits for Ultimate Products

Housewares supplier Ultimate Products posted a 23.2% surge in sales to £79m and a 50% soar in pre-tax profit to a record £7.5m for the year to July 31.

The Manchester-based company said growth was driven by discount customers in the UK and Europe, and UK supermarkets, with its Beldray, Salter and intempo brands being particularly strong performers.

Ultimate Products now serves more than 300 customers across 38 territories worldwide. Customers include B&M, Sainsbury, Argos, The Range, Robert Dyas, Matalan and Aldi in the UK, Action in the Netherlands and Gifi in France, plus TJ Maxx in the US.

The business added that it also reaped the benefits of ‘continuous innovation’ with more than 1,000 new products launched in the period.

The group has made ‘significant investment’ over the last 12 months in its online business and now has over 1,800 products listed, with the logistics capability in place to meet the expected surge in demand over the key Christmas trading period. This includes over 100 lines selected for inclusion on Amazon’s Black Friday programme (compared with last year, when it didn’t have any).

During the period, the group also secured new bank facilities with HSBC. Under a four-year arrangement, the new facilities provide greater flexibility and increased credit limit, to support management’s plans for expansion.

Ultimate Products has also signed a seven year lease for a new 240,000 sq ft warehouse facility in Oldham, in addition to its existing 200,000 sq ft facility nearby. This gives warehouse capacity up to £150m turnover.

Ultimate Products founder and chief executive Simon Showman said: “This has been an exciting year. Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty we have achieved record profits, negotiated favourable financing facilities, and successfully relaunched a British heritage brand.

“Our new brand, Progress, focuses on stylish and distinctive kitchen products and it’s pleasing to see how well they’ve gone down with key customers.”

This Lancastrian brand that dates back to the 1930s was relaunched at the Exclusively Housewares trade show in London this summer. Some £300,000 of initial orders have been received from retailers such as Robert Dyas, TK Maxx and The Range. Progress was acquired from the administrator to PCS Brands in 2015 and sells housewares products primarily for the kitchen.

Simon continued: “Product innovation is at the heart of our strategy, as we focus on increasing our reach through new customers and repeat orders from our existing relationships with major retailers.

“Despite the outcome of the referendum in June, our 2017 order book is already up over 60%, as we benefit from the expansion plans of discounters, our deepening relationships with major supermarkets, and the growing popularity of online shopping.”

Ultimate Products is focused on consumer goods for the home, selling products under brands such as Beldray, intempo, Salter and Constellation to over 300 retailers across 38 countries. Founded by ceo Simon Showman in 1997, the business has grown from its origins as a sourcing company for retailers into a brands house employing 185 people in the UK and China.

In 2014, management changed the business model from a sourcing company working with retail clients to source mostly own-label and promotional products, to the current mass market branded model.

The company’s business is now focused on developing, sourcing, designing and packaging consumer goods under a range of brands, most of which it owns. Ultimate Products has six main product categories: small domestic appliances, housewares, audio, luggage, laundry and heating & cooling.

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