A Dundee furniture group believes it has “weathered the storm” brought about by the pandemic, despite a £10 million fall in turnover.
JTC Furniture Group saw its turnover fall from nearly £26m in 2019 to £16m as a result of Covid-19.
But the firm, which made a number of redundancies last summer, is now through the worst, according to finance director Antony Bell.
He said: “We’ve weathered the storm but it’s still a bit patchy out there.
“A lot of what we do is in social housing and that’s still not 100% open for business. It’s slowly gathering momentum.
“Every month, things are getting a bit busier. We’re starting to get into our major projects but nowhere near the volumes we were two years ago.”
Recently published accounts show JTC Furniture Group made pre-tax profits of over £223,000 for the year ended 31 December 2020.
The Harrison Road business was forced to cut staff last year before the government’s furlough scheme was extended.
Mr Bell said those were difficult decisions, but they had to be made to safeguard the business.
The firm’s directors all agreed to 20% wage cuts.
Mr Bell said: “We had a redundancy programme last summer. At that time furlough was stopping – once we did that furlough was reinstated.
“We had to establish a plan of how we’re going to tackle the circumstances.
“That’s what we did and notwithstanding that, we had people on four-day weeks.
“The directors took a 20% reduction. We had to put a number of measures in place help make the year pan out.”
A year later, the firm is recruiting once more, but the fall in the volume of work has meant a difficult financial year.
Even with the end of Covid-19 restrictions, the finance director is unsure when JTC Furniture will return to its pre-Covid financial position.
He said: “In 2019 we were pushing £26m turnover, in 2020 we’re at £16m.
“This year we’ll maybe be at about £18m.
“It’s difficult because it is growing – we are doing summer modernisations at the moment in student accommodation but we’ve only got one new big project.
“A few years ago, we were on 10 or 12 big new build projects for student accommodation. Now we’re looking at three or four.”
Mr Bell said the firm was “80% of the way there” with its social housing work and that jobs in that sector are increasing.
“We can notice there is more work coming in,” he said.
And Mr Bell is confident the business is on “very sound footing” as it looks to rebuild following a difficult 18 months.
He said: “Whether we get back into mid & high £20m turnover, I’m not sure how quickly that will happen.
“We’ve not required any real assistance apart from furlough. We didn’t take any loans or anything – so financially we’ve not taken on anything extra from a debt scenario.
“We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”