|£m (unless stated)||2019||2018||% change|
|- Howden Joinery UK depots||1,550.3||1,477.3||4.9|
|Gross profit margin, %||62.3||61.7||60bp|
|Operating profit margin, %||16.4||15.9||50bp|
|Profit before tax||260.7||238.5||9.3|
|Basic earnings per share||35.0p||31.3p||11.8|
|Dividend per share||13.0p||11.6p||12.1|
|Net cash at end of period||267.4||231.3||15.6|
1 The information presented relates to the 52 weeks to 28 December 2019 and the 52 weeks to 29 December 2018, unless otherwise stated.
2 Same depot basis for any year excludes depots opened in that year and the prior year. See Financial Review on page 4.
“2019 was a year of progress for Howdens and I am pleased with how the business performed. We increased Group revenue by 4.8% to £1.6bn, with profit before tax, up 9.3%, increasing faster than sales, and gross margin also improving. We ended the year with £267m in cash, after investing £61m in the business and returning £126m to shareholders. We opened 44 new depots during the year, including our first five in Northern Ireland and five in France.
“We have initiatives underway to improve business performance further, focussed on depot format efficiencies, improving range management and the development of our digital platform. We have a new depot format which is designed to enable us to use depot space more efficiently and give us the option to open smaller depots in new locations. Consequently, we see the opportunity for around 850 UK depots. Our investment in digital will both reinforce the strong local relationships we have with builders and improve awareness of the Howden offer with consumers.“We are encouraged by the progress we made in 2019 and remain confident in our business model for the future.”
Howden Joinery UK depots sales in the first two periods of the new financial year (to 22 February), increased by 1.6% (-0.2% on a same depot basis2), with one fewer trading day than in 2019. Excluding the first week of trading (which this year had 2.5 trading days), sales in the first two periods of 2020 were up 3.5% (1.6% on a same depot basis2).
The Group believes that there is the potential for the number of depots in the UK to be increased from the 732 operating at the end of 2019, to around 850 depots. During the course of 2020, we plan to open around 30 new depots in the UK and five in France.
We also intend to extend our depot test by refurbishing 30 older depots to the new format, during the year, and introduce vertically racked product to a further 50 depots, without further modifications.
In 2020, we expect additional operating costs of £20m to be incurred in respect of: the one-year impact of running the old National Distribution Centre whilst also incurring the costs of the second phase of our new Raunds distribution facility;
digital upgrades; increased pension charges; and additional depreciation. These are in addition to the impact of on-going growth in the business, inflationary pressures, new depots and any impact of foreign exchange rates. Compared to 2019, we will
benefit from not bearing the £5.8m costs of closing our operations in the Netherlands and Germany. Capital expenditure of around £80m is expected, including the final phase of the Raunds distribution centre, together with further investment
in digital and new depots.
The Group will adopt IFRS 16 for the year to 26 December 2020. The first report under IFRS 16 will be the June 2020 half-year report, released on 23 July 2020. Further details can be found in the Notes to the Financial Statements, below.
With respect to coronavirus, we are monitoring our supply chain closely and have increased forward stock levels for product sourced from China, whilst reviewing alternative sources and means of supply.Whilst we are aware of the economic uncertainties that we face, we remain confident in our business model for the future.
2Same depot basis for any year excludes depots opened in that year and the prior year. See Financial Review on page 4.
Head of Investor Relations + 44 (0) 20 7535 1164/+44 (0) 7739 778187
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Simon Rigby + 44 (0) 20 3926 8522, Kevin Smith +44 (0) 20 3926 8509
Nick Hayns + 44 (0) 20 3926 8503
Note to editors:
Howden Joinery Group Plc is the parent company of Howden Joinery (Howdens). In the UK, Howdens is engaged in the sale of kitchens and joinery products to trade customers, primarily small local builders, through approximately 730 depots. Around one-third of the products it sells are manufactured in the company’s own factories in Runcorn, Cheshire, and Howden, East Yorkshire. The business also operates a total of 27 depots in France and Belgium.There will be a live audio webcast at 10.00am GMT, 27 February 2020. For details and more information, please see: www.howdenjoinerygroupplc.com
|Trading update||30 April|
|Annual General Meeting||7 May|
|Half Year Report||23 July|
|Trading update||5 November|
|End of financial year||26 December|
Howden Joinery UK depots - same depot basis
Howden Joinery UK depots – total sales
|Howden Joinery Continental European depots||33.3||34.0|
France and Belgium – same depot basis
France and Belgium – total sales
Total Group revenue increased £72.3m to £1,583.6m. Howden Joinery UK depot revenue rose 4.9% to £1,550.3m (2018: £1,477.3m). UK revenue increased by 2.5% on a same depot basis2 to £1,507.1m (2018: £1,470.9m); this excludes the additional revenue from depots opened in 2018 and 2019 of £43.2m (2018: £6.4m).
Depot revenue in Continental Europe was £33.3m (2018: £34.0m), reflecting the closure of our depots in the Netherlands and Germany in January 2019. On a local currency basis, sales at our depots in France and Belgium increased by 3.8% and by 3.1% on a same depot basis2. The profit earned by the depots opened before 2019 covered all European central costs in the year.
Gross profit increased to £986.2m (2018: £932.2m). The gross profit margin of 62.3% (2018: 61.7%) reflected the impact of a price increase in January 2019. This resulted in an improved balance between price and volume.
Operating profit rose to £260.0m (2018: £240.1m), giving an operating profit margin of 16.4% (2018: 15.9%).
Selling and distribution costs and administrative expenses were £726.2m (2018: £692.1m). Costs increased, as expected, due to continued investments in areas across the business, including new depots, digital upgrades and the additional depreciation arising from recent investments. There were also the one-time costs associated with the closure of our depots in Germany and the Netherlands of £5.8m, and the absence of the £3.8m GMP equalisation charge, incurred in the prior year.
Net interest income was £0.7m (2018: charge of £1.6m), reflecting the lower finance expense in respect of pensions of £0.4m (2018: £2.3m). Profit before tax was £260.7m (2018: £238.5m).
The tax charge on profit before tax was £51.7m (2018: £48.1m), representing an effective rate of tax of 19.8% (2018: 20.2%). As a result, profit after tax was £209.0m (2018: £190.4m).
Reflecting the above and the reduced share count following share repurchases, basic earnings per share were 35.0p (2018: 31.3p).
The Group’s dividend policy is to target a dividend cover of between 2.5x and 3.0x, with one third of the previous year’s dividend being paid as an interim dividend each year.
The Board has recommended to shareholders a final dividend of 9.1p (2018: 7.9p), giving a total dividend for the year of 13.0p (2018: 11.6p), an increase of 12.1%. This equates to a dividend cover of 2.7x (2018: 2.7x)
The final dividend payment of 9.1p per share will, if approved by shareholders, be paid on 19 June 2020, with an ex-dividend date of 21 May 2020 and a record date of 22 May 2020.
There was a net cash inflow from operating activities of £221.4m (2018: £163.2m).
Net working capital increased by £6.3m, mainly due to debtors that were up by £7.1m. This was due to Period 11 trading ending in early November, allowing payments to fall into the 2020 financial year, which started on 29 December 2019. Stock increased £5.5m due to depot openings, offset by creditors, up £6.3m.
Capital expenditure on assets including new depots, digital upgrades and investment in the next phase of our Raunds distribution centre, totalled £61.1m (2018: £44.3m). Net tax paid was £46.2m (2018: £45.4m), dividends paid were £70.6m (2018: £68.3m) and share repurchases totalled £55.2m (2018: £62.2m).
Overall, there was a net cash inflow of £36.1m, leaving the Group with net cash of £267.4m at year end (29 December 2018: £231.3m net cash).
The Board targets a capital structure that is both prudent and recognises the benefits of operational and financial leverage, and that, after considering our capital requirements, will return surplus cash to shareholders as appropriate. The Group
has significant property leases for the depot network and continues to have a material deficit in the Group pension fund. Taking into account this underlying level of gearing, the Board believes it is appropriate for the Group to be able to operate
through the annual working capital cycle without incurring bank debt.
The Board regularly reviews the Group’s cash balances considering future investment opportunities, expected peak working capital requirements, trading outlook and dividend payments.
In March 2018, we announced a £60m share repurchase programme, of which £30.0m was remaining at the start of 2019. In February 2019, we announced a further share buyback programme of £50m to be completed during the following two years.
During 2019, the Group acquired 10.8m shares for a consideration of £55.2m. This completed the 2018 share repurchase programme and £25.0m of the February 2019 programme remains. Shares that were bought in the market during 2019 were cancelled.Following the Board’s recent review, it has been decided to complete the remaining £25.0m of the £50m 2019 share buyback programme in 2020 and return a further £85m to shareholders through another share purchase programme over the next two years.
At 28 December 2019, the pension deficit shown on the balance sheet was £56.6m (29 December 2018: £36.0m). The increase in the deficit was due to a £196.9m increase in liabilities (the main elements of which are a £244.8m increase in liabilities primarily due to a reduction in the net discount rate, and a £47.9m decrease in liabilities due to adopting updated longevity assumptions), partly offset by an increase in asset returns of £149.8m and a £46.9m cash contribution.On 28 June 2018, we announced that, following the triennial actuarial valuation of the scheme as at 5 April 2017, we had reached agreement with the Trustees of the defined benefit pension scheme in relation to the schedule of payments required to fund the scheme deficit. We agreed to make annual deficit contributions of £30m per annum for up to five years until June 2023.
Howdens knows what it stands for: to help our trade customers achieve exceptional results for their customers and to profit from doing so. When our customers succeed, we succeed.
Our model is a powerful combination of locally empowered depot management teams served by a dedicated supply chain, which is both cost effective and critical to the success of our in-stock offer.
A key feature of Howdens success is our trade customer focus, which underpins everything we do.
Our account base remains stable at approximately 470,000 customers. Although this is similar to the prior year, we are improving customer loyalty and are seeing sales per customer grow with our core customers buying more often from us. The number of new credit accounts opened in 2019 was similar to the prior year, with new customer spending up and profit per new account increasing, reflecting lower acquisition costs.
During 2019, 39 new depots were opened (2018: 33 new depots) and one depot was closed, bringing the total number of depots trading at the end of the year to 732. All of the new depots are in our new format, described below, aimed at creating the best depot environment in which to do business with our customers.
Howdens depots typically have an average size of around 10,000 square feet. The new depot format, using vertical racking in the warehouse section, has the potential to make productivity gains from reduced picking times and reduces required storage space.
Where this new racking has been tested, the space has been reallocated to provide a more open front area, bringing depot staff closer to customers, and approximately doubling the space available to display a wider range of kitchen designs. There is also space for a small goods picking area behind the counter with an improved range of everyday essential items, including hardware, to add incremental profit and as a way of encouraging footfall and incremental kitchen sales. The fit-out cost of a new format depot is around £350,000, broadly in line with the cost of our previous format.
The new format also offers the potential to open new, smaller, infill depots of around 6,000 square feet, in rural locations and big cities. During the year, eight of those opened were of this smaller size. Including the smaller sized depots, the number of UK depots could potentially reach around 850.
Eleven older depots have also been converted and are now trading in the new format. By the end of 2019, we had a total of 133 depots with vertically racked product storage, comprising 60 new depots opened and 11 re-furbished in the new format, together with a further 62 depots which were re-racked without other modifications.
We are pleased with the feedback we have received regarding the refurbished depots, from both depot teams and customers. We have been sufficiently encouraged by their performance to date and the depot teams’ expectations for them in 2020, that we are extending the test by converting a further 30 of the older depots to the new format during the year, at an expected average cost of £225k. We also plan to introduce vertically racked product to a further 50 depots, without further modifications, and open around 30 new UK depots.By the end of 2020, assuming our depots plans for this year are implemented, around one third of depots will have vertical racking, comprising 41 refurbished depots, 90 new depots and 112 depots that have been re-racked without other modifications.
We introduced 12 new kitchen ranges in 2019, with average sales per range above those in 2018. New product initiatives and launches during the period included:
We continue to enhance the marketing of our products and services, enabling our builder customers and their customers to see and appreciate the full breadth and depth of the Howdens offer. Building on the success of the Trade Book, which was first printed in 2017, new Trade Books and Kitchen Brochures were published in February, May and September.
Managing the number of kitchen ranges efficiently is crucial for both our customers, who want best availability, and also for our own profitability, as the number of ranges and the products within a range add significant complexity to our supply chain and the inventory that we hold.
A key part of this is the timely discontinuation of underperforming ranges and the management of clearance stock from the business. During 2019, 19 ranges were cleared from the business.At the end of 2019, there were 67 current kitchen ranges available, including initial stock of some ranges scheduled for launch in 2020. We think around 65 current ranges is the appropriate number for our market at present. In the first half of 2020, we plan to launch 13 new kitchen ranges, of which 11 have been launched to date, and aim to remove at least as many ranges as are added.
As part of our focus on range management, we have merged the divisional commercial functions into a single commercial team, organised into product categories. This structure provides clearer accountability for product range decisions as well as supply chain benefits.The changes were aimed at removing duplication of effort, easing communication and bringing our commercial team closer to depot managers. We have already seen the benefits of clearer accountabilities and closer working between Trade, Commercial and Supply, with our new kitchen brochure and trade book launched in week 3 of 2020 and the stock of all new kitchens available in depots before the trade book and brochure were published. Through this structure we also aim to ensure that the business is well planned at least 18 months out with our suppliers, that we are being offered innovative products first and that we are offering the best value to our customers. This approach is already supporting our 2020 plans for improved range, availability and price.
We are continuing to develop the new platform for our website as we enhance our digital capability to reinforce the Howdens model. Our investment in digital will enhance the strong local relationships and improve communications between depots and their builder customers, including through offering streamlined operating processes to free up depot staff and customers’ time.
The new web platform, which has enriched product content and improved search optimisation, has moved Howdens.com into more prominent search positions, raising brand awareness with consumers. As a result, traffic to the site is up 22% year on year with an average of over 300,000 visitors per week for the first time. Furthermore, depot contacts made via the website have increased 35%.
In the second half of 2019, further improvements were made to our digital offering in line with our aim to put “a tradesperson’s local depot in their pocket”. A secure customer-only area of the website was tested, where builders can manage their accounts, make payments and interface more efficiently with their local depot. This was trialled with a number of trade customers and, in January 2020, was rolled-out to be available to all customers.
Our UK-based manufacturing and logistics operations are vital in enabling us to supply our small builder customers from stock available locally. This requires us to have the scale, space and flexibility to respond to each depot’s individual needs, especially during our peak ‘Period 11’ trading when sales are more than double the level in other periods.
During 2019, a number of projects progressed and milestones were achieved, as follows:
At the end of 2019, there were 27 depots across France (25) and Belgium (2), with the Belgian depots continuing to be run within the French field structure. Rebranding to Howdens was completed during the period. As previously reported, the single depot operations in the Netherlands and Germany were closed in January 2019.
We believe there is the potential for a viable business based in France and we have appointed a French national to lead our business there. The French market has low penetration rates of integrated kitchens and most kitchens are purchased through DIY outlets and specialist shops, which is similar to the way the UK market was structured when Howdens was founded.Based on the way current depots perform in their local areas we think both the French trade customer and end consumer can see the benefits of buying a kitchen though the trade. We also believe that depots in small clusters within cities perform better, partly due to word of mouth between builder customers and also because of our ability to build a local and trusted brand. Clustering also helps to build the Howdens culture within our business teams. We are therefore developing our operation in France by way of a City-based strategy, with five depots (four around Paris and one in Lille) opened in 2019. We expect to open a further five depots in France, in 2020, subject to our business in France continuing to perform in line with expectations.
The Group meets its day-to-day working capital requirements through cash generated from operations. If required, the Group also has access to an asset-backed lending facility of £140m, which expires in December 2023.
The Group's forecasts and projections have been stress-tested for reasonably possible adverse variations in economic conditions and trading performance. The results of this testing show that the Group should be able to operate within the level of its current net cash balances and its committed bank facility, and that it would not breach the facility covenants.After making due enquiries, the Directors have a reasonable expectation that the Company and the Group have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, they continue to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the financial statements.
Our approach to risk is adaptive. We aim to protect what we have while responding to opportunities to grow and create value.
In line with the way we manage risks within the business, we have not presented a separate principal risk relating to Brexit. Brexit will impact a number of our existing risks, with the severity and timeframes varying significantly, depending on the nature of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
The following table summarises the key risk areas. It also shows which of our principal risks these elements are managed under and gives examples of key mitigating actions.
What are the Brexit risks
What this could mean
What we are doing
Managed within principal risks no:
Trade and Customs Risks
People and Immigration Risks
Strategy & Business Plan Risks
The business has established a Brexit Committee who regularly meet to discuss the likely exit scenarios to ensure our exit plans remain appropriate.
Certain statements in this Preliminary Results announcement are forward-looking. Although the Group believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct. Because these statements contain risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
The 2019 Annual Report and Accounts which will be issued in March 2020, contains a responsibility statement in compliance with DTR 4.1.12 of the Listing Rules which sets out that as at the date of approval of the Annual Report on 26 February 2020, the directors confirm to the best of their knowledge:
By order of the Board
|Andrew Livingston||Mark Robson|
|Chief Executive Officer||Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer|
|26 February 2020|
52 weeks to
52 weeks to
|Revenue - sale of goods||1,583.6||1,511.3|
|Cost of sales||(597.4)||(579.1)|
|Selling & distribution costs||(621.7)||(594.4)|
|Other finance expense - pensions||(0.4)||(2.3)|
|Profit before tax||260.7||238.5|
|Tax on profit||3||(51.7)||(48.1)|
|Profit for the period attributable to the equity holders of the parent||209.0||190.4|
|Earnings per share:|
|Basic earnings per 10p share||4||35.0p||31.3p|
|Diluted earnings per 10p share||4||34.8p||31.2p|
52 weeks to
52 weeks to
|Profit for the period||209.0||190.4|
|Items of other comprehensive income|
|Items that will not be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss:|
|Actuarial gains/(losses) on defined benefit pension scheme||(47.1)||59.3|
|Deferred tax on actuarial losses/gains on defined benefit pension scheme||8.0||(11.3)|
|Change of tax rate on deferred tax||(0.7)|
|Items that may be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss:|
|Currency translation differences||(1.9)||(0.2)|
|Other comprehensive income for the period||(41.7)||47.8|
|Total comprehensive income for the period attributable to equity holders of the parent||167.3||238.2|
|Notes||28 December 2019|
|29 December 2018|
|Property, plant and equipment||212.4||187.1|
|Deferred tax asset||13.5||11.2|
|Trade and other receivables||193.1||186.0|
|Cash and cash equivalents||267.4||231.3|
|Trade and other payables||(241.4)||(232.9)|
|Current tax liability||(20.3)||(20.2)|
|Deferred tax liability||(1.5)||(1.5)|
|Share premium account and capital redemption reserve||92.2||87.5|
|At 30 December 2017||62.8||-||87.5||(10.7)||(36.2)||350.8||454.2|
|Other comprehensive income||-||-||-|| |
|Total comprehensive income for the period||-||-||-||-||-||238.2||238.2|
|Current tax on share schemes||-||-||-||-||-||0.1||0.1|
|Deferred tax on share schemes||-||-||-||-||-||(0.1)||(0.1)|
|Movement in ESOP||-||-||-||5.2||-||-||5.2|
|Buyback and cancellation of shares||(1.3)||-||-||-||-||(60.9)||(62.2)|
|Transfer of shares from treasury into share trust||-||-||-||(3.3)||3.3||-||-|
|At 29 December 2018||61.5||-||87.5||(8.8)||(32.9)||459.8||567.1|
|Other comprehensive income||-||-||-||-||-||(41.7)||(41.7)|
|Total comprehensive income||-||-||-||-||-||167.3||167.3|
|Current tax on share schemes||-||-||-||-||-||0.3||0.3|
|Deferred tax on share schemes||-||-||-||-||-||0.2||0.2|
|Movement in ESOP||-||-||-||6.1||-||-||6.1|
|Buyback and cancellation of shares (Note 1)||(1.0)||4.7||-||-||-||(58.9)||(55.2)|
|Transfer of shares from treasury into share trust||-||-||-||(3.6)||3.6||-||-|
|Dividends declared and paid||-||-||-||-||-||(70.6)||(70.6)|
|At 28 December 2019||60.5||4.7||87.5||(6.3)||(29.3)||498.1||615.2|
The ESOP reserve includes shares in Howden Joinery Group Plc with a market value on the balance sheet date of £38.7m (2018: £27.1m), which are held by the Group's Employee Share Trusts in order to satisfy share options and awards made under the Group's various share-based payment schemes. The item "Movement in ESOP" consists of the share-based payment charge in the year, together with any receipts of cash from employees on exercise of share options.
At the current period end there were 6,015,580 ordinary shares held in treasury, each with a nominal value of 10p (2018: 6,738,280 shares).Note 1: This includes a re-presentation of the cancellation of shares to retained earnings and capital contribution reserve for the shares bought back and cancelled before 29 December 2018, under which retained earnings has been reduced by £3.7m and the capital contribution reserve has been increased by £3.7m. This line also records the shares bought back and cancelled in the current period, which had an aggregate nominal value of £1m and a cost of £55.2m.
52 weeks to
52 weeks to
|Operating profit before tax and interest||260.0||240.1|
|Depreciation and amortisation included in operating profit||34.5||30.2|
|Share-based payments charge||4.9||4.3|
|Loss on disposal of property, plant and equipment, and intangible assets||1.4||-|
|Operating cash flows before movements in working capital||300.8||274.6|
|Movements in working capital|
|Increase in stock||(5.5)||(18.0)|
|Increase in trade and other receivables||(7.1)||(48.2)|
|Increase/ (drecrease) in trade and other payables and provisions||6.3||16.5|
|Difference between pensions operating charge and cash paid||(26.9)||(16.3)|
|Cash generated from operations||267.6||208.6|
|Net cash flows from operating activities||221.4||163.2|
|Notes||52 weeks to|
|52 weeks to|
|Net cash flows from operating activities||221.4||163.2|
|Cash flows used in investing activities|
|Payments to acquire property, plant and equipment, and intangible assets||(61.1)||(44.3)|
|Receipts from sale of property, plant and equipment, and intangible assets||0.3||0.1|
|Net cash used in investing activities||(59.7)||(43.5)|
|Cash flows from financing activities|
|Payments to acquire own shares||(55.2)||(62.2)|
|Receipts from release of shares from share trust||1.1||0.9|
|Increase in long-term prepayments||(0.9)||0.1|
|Dividends paid to Group shareholders||8||(70.6)||(68.3)|
|Net cash used in financing activities||(125.6)||(129.5)|
|Net increase in cash and cash equivalents||(36.1)||(9.8)|
|Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period||231.3||241.1|
|Cash and cash equivalents at end of period||267.4||231.3|