At the start of 2011 Bridgford was said to be hungrier and leaner than ever, ready to combat the year ahead, and has managed to yet again maintain a steady turnover approaching £30M, which is no mean feat given the current economic climate.
Whilst the company is fortunate enough to be working with the people spending money in this period of uncertainty, the market it operates in has not proved any easier over the past 12 months since the last instalment of ‘Bridgford News’. Various issues have impacted on opportunities classified under the umbrella of ‘the economy’ - fewer shops required as consumer spending declines and habits change to embrace the brave new world of multi-channel retailing. An abundance of shopfitters far greater than the availability of projects, those clients that have been brave and bold enough to press forward with expansion plans and refurbishments during the downturn have taken every opportunity to drive down costs, taking advantage of fiercely competitive, sometimes cut-throat tendering. To add insult to injury, there has been a visible shift towards night working and trading store phased refits to minimise disruption to trade. This is certainly a barren landscape.
“Recent trade surveys indicate that 50 per cent of shopfitting businesses have seen a drop in revenue from 2009 to 2010, the average margin across the top 30 contractors was nought per cent, and 29 per cent of businesses have experienced a negative profit – not very pleasant reading for those of us firmly entrenched in retail/leisure fit out!” comments Alan Palmer, Bridgford Interior’s Business Development Director.
Fortunately, in a sector that is typically reliant on a small number of long-standing relationships, Bridgfords has bucked the trend, working for 28 prestigious clients in 2011 – 20 of which are retained, some in excess of ten years.
“The key performance indicator for this company is the level of repeat business and relationships with its clients and project teams – producing a balanced and considered result time after time,” he adds.
In the current market it is a given that a business has to be competent in its chosen field to stay afloat and needs to add value where possible and to offer more than the next man – Bridgfords, whilst embracing the competitive margins has remained fiscally stable and has sought to enhance its standing in terms of sustainability and training. 2011 saw third-party UKAS accreditation for its ISO 14001 Environmental Management System and has accredited the company’s projects teams to the Association of Project Managers. Not sitting back on its laurels, the business has now committed to produce a fully Integrated Management System encompassing both Health & Safety (OHSAS 18001) and Quality (ISO 9001).
“The project comes first every single time, sometimes at the detriment to ourselves, but project delivery and relationships formed as a result are the key to our success,” says Palmer.
“Relationships are not formed overnight but take years to nurture. We are extremely lucky to be engaged in long-term working relationships built on trust and open communication, providing consistency and reliability, supporting our clients every step
of the way on their journey to success.”
For the full article, please see the February 2012 issue.