Scottish-based bakery business Walker’s Shortbread has reported seeing its annual turnover climb by 16%, rising from UK£142.4m to £164.6m in the past financial year.
Walker’s released its annual results recently, on 2 October 2023, for the year ended 31 December 2022, revealing top-line growth fuelled specifically in US and UK markets, the latter resulting from a strong post-pandemic festive season.
Walker’s benefited from increased sales in domestic and overseas markets during the trading period, with UK sales increasing by 23% from £62.6m to £77m and export revenues rose by almost 10% to £87.6m.
Growth was underpinned by the company’s successful rebrand, which was launched in 2021 and continued through 2022, with strong performance in global travel retail coinciding with a return to air travel for many passengers.
However, ongoing pressures on global supply chains – intensified by the conflict in Ukraine – and a challenging inflationary environment had an impact the business, related to the costs of raw materials rising and service levels being squeezed. As a result, profits dipped from £6.2m to £6m compared to the previous trading year.
Walker’s sought to mitigate these challenges by introducing new production efficiencies and procurement strategies, both which contributed gains in the year, however, it was insufficient to mitigate the cost pressures in full meaning profits remained static at £6m.
“It was pleasing to see demand return in a substantial way through 2022 after a couple of challenging years during the Covid-19 pandemic,” commented Nicky Walker, Managing Director at Walker’s Shortbread. “The year presented numerous hurdles however, not least the continuing restrictions in the local labour market, but also substantial price increases coming from our suppliers. This volatility forced a review of all our incoming costs, with proactive conversations held with our entire supply chain.”
Mr Walker went on to say that in spite of the challenging global environment, a post-pandemic lift and return to travel and tourism was key to achieving topline growth, along with the successful brand relaunch which is continuing in 2023 and 2024 as part of a global roll out.
“The Walker’s brand relaunch was exceptionally well received last year, and we are excited at the prospect of the continued roll out through the remainder of this year and into next as we look forward to support the business’ aspiration for sustainable growth,” added Nicky Walker. “I’d again like to acknowledge the support of our incredible team, whose efforts are invaluable to the business. It was especially pleasing that as part of our 125th anniversary celebrations in June we were able to say thank you to them in person, along with their families, at a company event.
“I, along with the Board and Executive Committee, continue to focus our efforts on moving the business forward, further developing it for a bright, sustainable future.”
Read more latest industry news and developments in our free to download magazine.