Building materials distributor SIG saw sales fall 13% to £1,974m for the year to December 31 2020, taking it into a pre-tax loss of £76.3m from a £17.7m profit last time.
That said, the group reported a strong finish to 2020, ahead of expectations, with like-for-like sales up 4% in the fourth quarter, reflecting broad-based growth across all its major markets, including the UK. Trading in 2021 is continuing in a similar vein, in line with expectations.
Much of the 2020 performance was down the pandemic, with 2,000 staff furloughed in the first lockdown “with some continued underlying weakness in performance.”
Chief Executive Officer Steve Francis said: “Our teams have shown great resilience and commitment in the face of the challenging circumstances for much of the year, the effects of which clearly impacted our first half, and hence full year, results. Providing a safe environment and instilling an even greater focus on good health and safety behaviours has been and will remain a major focus of the new management team.
“I am delighted that due to our Return to Growth strategy we delivered a solid second half and have begun to return the business to growth after a long period of decline. On behalf of the whole Board I would like to thank all our employees for their significant efforts, and successes, during the year.
“The new UK management team has rebuilt its business and, everywhere we operate, we have reconnected with our employees, customers and suppliers. Their response has reaffirmed that we are at our best when we are a local, sales and technical service-driven business, partnering closely with our key suppliers and operating with empowered and entrepreneurial branch teams. The market fundamentals for SIG remain strong and we are benefiting from good RMI growth in UK and France. We now have the right structure in place for UK Distribution and revenue growth is starting to emerge as planned.”