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Hallmark reports strong order book following 2020 loss

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Hallmark ensured that none of its team were made redundant, despite the pandemic’s financial impact.

Edenbridge-based Hallmark Kitchens has reported the extent of the coronavirus pandemic’s dent in its finances with the publication of its latest annual report.

Now publicly-available on Companies House, the document details that in the 12 months to 30 September 2020, the kitchen design house posted sales of £5.1m, a 20% hit from the previous year’s £6.5m.

Operating profit of around £41k from the previous year turned into a loss of £149k in 2020, a reduction of 467%.

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However, the firm strove to keep itself on an even keel throughout this period, with MD Kevin Jennings detailing: “With the unchartered challenges that all businesses in the hospitality industry have faced over the last 18 months; Hallmark have worked through the pandemic and look forward to the full reopening of our market sector.

“The implemented lockdown in March 2020 hit our business hard, being 5 months into our financial year. As for many businesses, confirmed orders were cancelled or put on hold, effectively cutting off our revenue stream not only in our main core business but particularly our service company. As a consequence, our positive 12-month projection for both turnover and profit was placed under threat eventually manifesting itself in this year’s trading loss.”

Nevertheless, Hallmark quickly jumped into disaster recovery mode, as Jennings explained: “Our board faced challenges never experienced before but we were determined to protect our business as well as the welfare of our staff. We took advantage of the available government initiatives and retained our team in full so that we were ready for when our industry returned to some normality. Whilst the furlough scheme undoubtedly assisted, we made the decision to support our staff by topping up everyone’s salaries to their usual 100%.

“We were also able to take the decision not to make redundancies due to our strong balance sheet and retained reserves, knowing that the shortfall in turnover whilst absorbing our fixed overhead may result in a trading loss. Hallmark have a very experienced and dedicated team of talented individuals who all faced up to the new normal of working remotely from home, a great testament to their loyalty.

“We also worked closely with all our major suppliers who were very supportive during this difficult period and we would like to acknowledge and thank them for their assistance.”

Jennings also praised the kitchen design house’s operator customers, saying: “In addition, the excellent relationships that we have with our clients came to fruition, and whilst generating revenue through our project work on site was limited, we remained extremely busy in designing projects ready for when lockdown was eased. These strong partnerships enabled us to complete some ‘key’ projects such as Nusr-Et in Knightsbridge, Dishoom’s CPU in Park Royal, Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s in Fields, Auriens in Chelsea and Bar Des Pres in Mayfair.”

He concluded: “Looking forward to this year, we are in a very strong position with a forward order book of circa £7m+ and with new opportunities cropping up almost daily. Whilst the consequential challenges for the hospitality industry (such as staffing for example) moving forward are not to be underestimated, we are optimistic for a significantly improved 2021.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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