Sales recover for Swift as UK domestic holiday market demand delights after lockdown hit

Hull caravan builder Swift Group turned a £7 million loss into a £14 million operating profit as the holiday home market soared post-lockdown.

Sales were up from £145.5 million to £232 million in the year to August 2021, but material and labour strains were highlighted in the competitive regional cluster.

Having seen £115 million of revenue wiped off by the pandemic, major strides were made to get the business back to where it was before it hit, with tools downed for months and showrooms closed. Sales now sit just 11 per cent behind 2019’s £260.9 million.

Read more:‘Staycations here to stay’ – holiday home builder points to demand, data and emphatic feedback

In his strategic report accompanying the latest results, director James Turner said: “The year reflects a period of operational resilience as the company looked to mitigate the negative impact of Covid-19 and bounce back from the prolonged period of shutdown which occurred during the previous financial year.

“A phased return to the manufacturing operations at the beginning of the financial year allowed the company to capitalise on the favourable market conditions brought about by overseas travel restrictions and the consumer demand of the UK domestic holiday market.”

Strict Covid protocols were highlighted as enabling production to continue throughout the year at the Cottingham site, albeit raising costs by £2.7 million.

Looking forward to what the current year to August 2022 will bring, Mr Turner said: “The directors believe the company is well positioned in its chosen markets to both grow overall market share and continue to be at the forefront of the industry with respect to product development and customer satisfaction.

“Since the start of the financial year the company has made significant steps in ensuring its product line-up meets the requirements of the end customer. Product quality and innovation remains in the centre of the group’s decision making.

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“The outlook for the coming year is not without challenges due to the long term affect of the pandemic and the overall recovery of the UK economy. The company’s underlying sales order book for the coming year remains strong, driven both by the aforementioned design of the 2022 season product and the current market conditions.

“While the director’s are pleased with this financial result, operationally the company faced significant challenges throughout the year including; supply chain disruption causing delays in the delivery of parts; significant levels of price inflation and the sourcing of Labour across a geographically competitive market.”

The company’s assets value was up £10 million, showing an overall strengthening of the balance sheet year-on-year.

Employee numbers stayed fairly constant, just above the 1,000 mark, with the business having shed staff then re-recruited as it dealt with the impact of the pandemic.

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