Angus jams and preserves manufacturer Mackays enjoyed “exponential” growth during the Covid-19 pandemic despite a fall in sales.
That is according to managing director Martin Grant.
Newly-filed accounts for the Arbroath-based firm show turnover dropped by £1 million for the year ending December 31 2020.
Mackays, which is based at Kirkton Industrial Estate, saw turnover fall to £16.9m.
The firm is one of the UK’s major jam, marmalade, preserve, chutney and relish producers and employs more than 150 staff.
Mr Grant said he was pleased with the results given the difficulties of the past 18 months.
He said: “We are very pleased with the results despite everything that ourselves and everyone else endured.
“There were many uncertain times.
“We had to pick our way through the news from governments and people just wanted clarity. We were able to give them clarity about what we were doing and that enabled them to be fully supportive.
“That was really important to us.”
Facing ‘extreme’ challenges of Covid-19
Mr Grant, who succeeded his father Paul as managing director a decade ago, said the challenges had been “extreme”.
He praised staff for their efforts during the pandemic.
Mr Grant said: “We’d never have got there if it wasn’t for every man and woman that works here.
“They have been amazing – incredibly loyal and committed to the business. We wouldn’t have churned out that result without their outstanding support.
“The team here did a phenomenal job and that got us through.”
Trading under the Mrs Bridges and Mackays brands the firm exports to around 80 countries and continues to place a strong emphasis on brand development.
A rise in international sales for Mackays
It saw a rise in international sales for the year, the accounts show.
They rose from £11.5m in 2019 to £11.9m this year.
Mr Grant expects that trend to continue.
“Exports are hugely important to us, but we’ve maintained and grown the export markets between 2019 and 2021, which we’re happy about,” the managing director said.
“We had to be quick on our feet to make sure we could satisfy demand.
“I think overseas the brand seemed to grow in stature during the pandemic.”
“The team here had the skill set in shipping products over borders before Brexit was upon us.
“It’s a heavier burden in terms of administration, but the team was able to navigate those difficulties.
“The brand grew towards the end of 2020. That has continued into 2021.”
A focus on sustainability at Mackays
Mackays also recorded a pre-tax profit of £99,515, compared to a pre-tax loss of more than £600,000 the previous year.
That loss was partly down to an overrun in a project and £500,000 investment.
Mr Grant said restoring the firm’s sales to pre-pandemic levels was a longer term plan.
He said the focus was on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the business.
He added: “We’ve re-balanced the business so chasing turnover figures is a more medium-term goal.
“We’ve been very focused on the sustainability of the current levels of turnover.
“It’s not going to get up to pre-pandemic levels this year but we’re very optimistic.
“It will take time.
“We don’t need to run back towards those high levels as quickly as others maybe do.”
The business is already ahead of its figures from 12 months ago.
Mr Grant said that was reason for optimism.
He said: “As far as 2021 compared to 2020, we’re significantly ahead thus far.
“It gives us that optimism that we have a brand that people want to buy.
“We’re in a good spot.”