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Scottish meat company enjoys online sales boost during lockdown

Online sales were up 350% during lockdown.
Online sales were up 350% during lockdown.

A massive increase in online sales has helped one of Scotland’s leading meat suppliers weather the coronavirus pandemic.

Campbell’s Prime Meat, which is one of Scotland’s biggest suppliers of meat direct to hotels, restaurants and caterers, reported a 350% increase in online sales during the national lockdown earlier this year.

However, the Linlithgow-based firm said a “material uncertainty” existed with the Covid-19 crisis, which may cast doubt on the company’s ability to operate in the future.

In a report accompanying its latest accounts, filed with Companies House, Campbell’s said: “The business has weathered the lockdown and coronavirus crisis very well to date.

“Having made a loss through the lockdown, the company returned to profit in August 2020.”

The company, which also produces and distributes fish and delicatessen goods, said foodservice sales had recovered to 70-75% of previous year levels.

“Subject to there not being a second large lockdown, we expect sales to remain at this level through to February 2021,” it added.

“We expect a further increase in sales from March-December 2021.”

The firm said it had taken advantage of the government’s furlough scheme, secured a £3 million bank overdraft facility, and a cost-cutting exercise had resulted in its staff count reducing by almost a quarter to 260 to match current trading levels.

“We intend to maintain sales by continuing to offer a higher service level than competitors, many of whom have announced depot closures, reductions in delivery days and reductions in staff telesales hours,” said Campbell’s.

However, it added: “There remains significant uncertainty as to the future impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as further full-scale lockdowns in the hospitality industry, which could have severe future trading and working capital consequences during the period considered for going concern purposes and which would require further actions to be put in place such as securing additional funding.

“As a result, the directors acknowledge that a material uncertainty exists which may cast significant doubt on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Meanwhile the accounts, which cover the year to December 31, 2019, reveal a boost in sales and profits.

Turnover in the year was up to £54.062m, from £53.366m the year before.

Pre-tax profits were also up 21% in the year to £555,911, from £454,995 previously.

Campbell’s thanked increased trade in the tourism sector for its profits boost and said: “Customers were busier, with tourist visits to Scotland being strong, as it is an attractive destination.”

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