Housewares supplier UPGS (UP Global Sourcing) has revealed record first-half profits for the six months to January 31.
Sales for the Oldham-based company were up 20.7% to £42m and pre-tax profit soared 90.9% to £4.2m.
UPGS founder and chief executive Simon Showman said: “This has been another excellent six months for the company and we continue to see the benefits of the strategy we announced at the end of 2013.”
UPGS describes itself as a brands house of consumer goods for the home, selling products under brands such as Beldray, intempo, Salter and Constellation. Founded by Simon in Manchester in 1997, the business has grown from its origins as a sourcing company for retailers into a brands house employing 185 people in the UK and China.
The company has six main product categories: small domestic appliances, housewares, audio, luggage, laundry and heating & cooling.
UPGS serves more than 300 customers across 38 territories worldwide including Argos, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Wilko, B&M Bargains and TJ Maxx in the UK, Action (Netherlands) and Gifi (France) in plus TJ Maxx in the USA.
Simon Showman said: “Focusing on our brands, such as Beldray, Salter, intempo and Constellation, brings increased sales through repeat orders, leading to stronger margins as we keep a control of our overheads. We look forward to the relaunch of [kitchen products brand] Progress later this year, which focuses on stylish and distinctive kitchen products.
“This is a really exciting time with opportunities for growth across all our major product lines. We have relationships with all the major UK retailers and they value having a one-stop shop for their consumer goods for the home.
“Deepening our relationships with our existing customers – we now have over 300 retailer groups – is a substantial opportunity. This includes growing alongside the discounters, whom we already count amongst our most important customers, and deepening our relationships with the major UK supermarkets. Online growth is another major current area of growth. Our branded model means we can now serve this channel more effectively than ever before.”
Highlights of the first half included the Salter NutriPro 1000 health blender being awarded Best Buy option on BBC2’s consumer affairs programme ‘What to Buy and Why’. It came top in the test because ‘the flavours are well blended together, producing a silky smoothie from a budget blender’.
A total of 92,000 Salter NutriPro 1000 blenders were sold in the first half, along with 160,000 ironing boards, 360,000 Bluetooth speakers, 45,000 Bluetooth headphones and 17,000 bluetooth jukeboxes, 126,000 suitcases and 53,000 spiralizers. Some 347 new SKUs brought to market.
The next corporate milestone for UPGS will be the relaunch of Progress, a Lancastrian brand dating back to the 1930s. Progress, which was acquired from the administrator to PCS Brands in 2015, sells housewares primarily for the kitchen. Progress will be relaunched at the Exclusively Housewares trade fair at the Business Design Centre in London in June.