Whitworths announces its annual results for Financial year 2019 (52wk ending Dec 19). In summary:
- Overall operating loss improvement of £1.2m with operating losses reducing to £0.6m
- Turnover remained the same year on year at £117m
- Two successful strategic areas of focus during 2019 was winning new business and reducing the cost base
- Factory investment began with a new nut production facility opening in June 2019
Turnover and margin
The company announced turnover and margin for FY2019 remained similar year on year, while the Whitworths brand continued to strengthen with a big focus on growing consumer awareness in 2019 through digital communications, social media and influencer marketing (reaching 48 million through 2019) and beginning its transition to recyclable packaging. In 2020 the brand is expanding into the healthy ready meal sector for the first time with the launch of ‘Whitworths Protein by Nature’ a plant based convenient range of protein packed pouches.
During the year of 2019, Whitworths also secured significant additional retail brand business that took effect at the start of 2020.
The business has been in a transition period since the acquisition by Anatolia in 2017 to stabilise and provide the foundations for growth. This included a significant review and actions to the cost base of the business to ensure the appropriate cost base could still grow the business and the bottom line to a profitable position.
The results of the review and actions reduced the cost base by more than £1m ensuring that the revised management structure was still well placed to grow and win incremental new business.
Last year Whitworths announced a 3-year redevelopment project and in June 2019 the first new production hall was opened successfully. The plans for the further redevelopment have been delayed due to COVID-19 and will restart in early 2021. This project is for the long-term success of the business which is set to improve capacity and long-term productivity, while also improving the environmental impact of our business.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 there has been a significantly increased focus on Going Concern for businesses in all industries. This was no exception for Whitworths and the business embarked on a significant forecasting process which was stringently audited under the new guidelines, with significantly increased sensitivity analysis, for the Going Concern status to be granted.
The impact of COVID-19 on the business has provided a significant sales increase through the first half of 2020 in line with Whitworths largest customers, but has also provided some increased costs in ensuring the site and the workforce are COVID-19 safe.
The business has continued to fully operate during the COVID-19 period, without any aid from the government or otherwise, to provide the service to our customers’ expectations.
Mark Fairweather, Whitworth’s CEO comments: “2019 saw a lot of strong fundamental improvements across all areas of the business to pave the way for the next few years, with our branded and retail branded businesses moving forward, an exciting regeneration programme getting underway and a cost base now fit for purpose. In 2020 we have already seen benefits from this hard work, with lots still to come before the year is out. We all remain incredibly excited about our impending launch of Protein by Nature later this year.”