COVID 19 Business update - February 2021
Following the Government’s latest ‘Road Map’ announcement we can thankfully all start to plan towards a future free from the impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic, as I am sure the last 12 months have been the most challenging period in our own trading history, and our industry as a whole.
At the start of last year our initial focus was to ensure we could continue to support all our customers during the Brexit period, and we had already invested in additional stocks to ensure continuity of supply, but then Covid-19 struck and changed everything without warning.
Many businesses were forced to temporarily close, but due to the requirement for Public Transport to continue operating during the Pandemic we remained open to support everyone providing services, but with all non-essential travel banned our demands were significantly reduced and we experienced a substantial increase in operating costs throughout the year as a result.
Unfortunately, the commercial impact of the Pandemic has meant than many of our customers in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector have been forced to close permanently, and others still have uncertain futures. This has also led to many of our Installation customers scaling back their own activities due to lower demands from their own customers too.
We have also lost a number of UK based Bus and Coach dealerships, including Moseley in the South, Moseley (PCV) and Arriva Bus & Coach, which is a bad indicator as to our prospects for recovery as new Bus and Coach sales represent the future of our business. As a regrettable consequence of them closing their businesses, and to ensure we can continue to provide ongoing support for their previous customers, we have purchased some of their remaining glass stocks to complement our own stock reserves. As Carlyle Ltd have also recently announced their plans to discontinue offering any glass supplies in the future, following their decision last year to stop providing installation services, we have also reached an agreement with them to purchase some of their remaining glass stocks as well.
Our own Global Supply Chain has been severely affected during the Pandemic and many glass factories were forced to close for a few months due to a lack of new orders and we faced an unpredictable period without guaranteed supplies.
Towards the end of last year, a partial recovery had been achieved, and we were able to support our own suppliers with increased orders while we continued to replace our stocks and plan for the Winter period ahead. However, the joint impact of the Pandemic and the new Brexit regulations has meant that the cost of importing products into the UK has increased significantly recently. Over the last few months the cost of European Road Freight deliveries has increased by 30%, and Sea Freight Shipments from Asia has soared by a staggering 500%, making imports from that region currently no longer commercially viable, so having access to these additional excess glass stocks will be a great benefit to us during this period until delivery costs return to normal levels again.
I believe we have been very fortunate to be able to trade through the last 12 months regardless of all these difficulties and also to know that all our staff have remained relatively healthy during that time and hopefully will remain so until this Pandemic is finally over.
We thank all our Customers and Suppliers for their continued support, and we look forward to working with you all for many years to come.
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