UPGS acquires bakeware brands

Housewares supplier UP Global Sourcing (UPGS) has acquired one of the UK’s oldest bakeware brands, as it reveals a 21% rise in turnover.

 The Manchester-based company has acquired George Wilkinson and its sister cookware brand, Progress, from the administrators of former London-based PCS Brands, which manufactured and distributed bakeware, cookware and wine racks.

The brands, which will be relaunched next year with new lines, will join the UPGS stable of British heritage brands which include Beldray, Russell Hobbs, Salter and Constellation.

The growth of UPGS’s branded business has helped boost turnover at the company. In the 12 months to the end of July 2015, sales rose 21% or £11.4m to £64.7m, from £54.3m in the 2014 financial year.

UPGS said it has made a strong start to the first half of the new financial year with orders up 33% on this time last year.

Sales in the UK, which accounts for around 70% of the business, were up 8% in the financial year to the end of July. In Europe, which makes up around 20%, sales rocketed by 105% over the period, boosted by increased business from a number of European discount retailers.

UPGS, which designs, sources and supplies homewares, luggage and electrical products, trades with 36 countries worldwide.

Chief executive Simon Showman said the company’s strategy of moving away from manufacturing own-label products to focusing on its brands is now paying off and he expects further growth across the UK and Europe in the next 12 months.

 He said: “At the end of 2013, we took the decision to move away from own-label and focus on growing our branded business. It has taken a little time and turnover, for the 2014 financial year was fairly flat. However, the benefits of the refocus started to kick in during 2015 and we’re now seeing the rewards. We expect this trend to continue and our order book is up on this time last year.

 “Consumer confidence is returning and the non-food sector is outperforming food. That said, competition is very tough. Consumers are extremely price conscious and want quality products at keen prices. Our branded products, which include a number of British heritage brands and market leaders, fit with these consumer demands perfectly.”

To reflect the company’s refocus, it is reverting back to its original name, Ultimate Products. UP Global Sourcing will remain its legal name, while Ultimate Products will become its trading name. The rebrand is expected to be completed next month.

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