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EXCLUSIVE: Advance diversifies to bolster business

Advance Exterior crop
The casual dining slowdown has impacted Advance’s 2017-18 financial results.

Dunstable-based Advance Group has posted a solid set of results for the year ending 31 March 2018.

According to the kitchen design house’s latest annual report on Companies House, gross profit percentage was up slightly from 25.08% to 25.68%.

However, turnover fell 15% from £18.1 to £15.4m, reflecting difficult economic conditions. Operating profit also dipped 25% from 0.7m to 0.5m.

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Advance chairman, Steve Coates, put the latest figures into context, commenting: “The directors are very pleased with the trading results in what was a very challenging year for the industry. Despite the slowdown in turnover the company still delivered an acceptable level of profit for the year.”

In terms of sector buoyancy, he added: “After a decade of strong growth in almost all channels of the market there has been marked slowdown in the last 12 months, particularly in the casual dining projects market. The company saw a reduction in the number of new openings from our casual dining customers. The projects team worked hard during the year and added a number of new project customers in new channels which was very encouraging.”

On the maintenance front, there was positive news: “Our asset management division has delivered year on year growth and the investment in Intequip, our intelligent repair/versus replacement system, continues to be well received by our customers,” said Coates.

“Despite the drop in turnover the company continued to invest in both people and systems for our asset management division, by adding another five engineers during 2018 and continuing with a capital investment in Intequip.”

During these 12 months of trading, Advance also bought out fellow distributor, Prestige Catering Equipment.

Coates noted: “December marks the first anniversary of the acquisition of Prestige Catering Equipment. Our integration plan has made great progress and the benefits that the group has provided together with the enthusiasm of the Prestige team, will deliver very strong financial results for the year ending March 2019, which is much earlier than planned.

“We continue to look for acquisition opportunities in the Midlands and Manchester area to expand our asset management model.

“Our acquisition model ensures that the owner retains a share in the business we also retain the identity of the company. It is important that we do not lose the local emphasis of the companies we acquire.”

Looking ahead, he concluded: “Although we see 2019 as another challenging year for the industry, the directors are confident that we will continue to make good progress towards our 2021 objectives.

“The directors would like to thank all the staff at Advance and Prestige for their continued hard work, commitment, and dedication to the group.”

Tags : Advance Groupbusinessdealerdistributorfinancial resultsfinancialsresults
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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