Straight plc, which supplies waste and recycling solutions to
local authorities, the waste industry and general businesses as
well as operates a direct-to-consumer business, is taking steps
to combat the “weather risk” on its retail business.
The company experienced “a difficult year” in 2007,
with turnover down 15 per cent, from £27.8 million to
£23.6 million. But it told the City that it expects trading
performance to improve in 2008.
The company blamed the wet summer of 2007 for a decline in sales, particularly of water butts, but Straight also admitted that its outsourcing of fulfilment in the beginning of 2007 increased overheads significantly. It has since employed a new fulfilment partner, Spark Response, on a cost model that is almost entirely variable, so that it should be able to “substantially reduce” associated costs. The new partnership will also accommodate “any unexpected peaks or troughs in demand,” Straight added in a statement.
Now that its fulfilment operations are in place, Straight plans to launch a website supplying waste and recycling containers as well as other, as yet undisclosed, specialist websites in order to reduce the impact of weather on its retail business. It has also begun supplying garden products to Australia, which has a countercyclical market to that of the UK. “We are now in a position to outsource our manufacturing to Australia and would expect this to strengthen our market position, increase volumes and improve margins,” chief executive Jonathan Straight said in a statement. Straight is also looking at other international markets.