But retail fit-out specialist is confident of its 'sound financial footing' to face the recession

Retail fit-out specialist Styles & Wood has posted a 39% fall in turnover in the first half of 2009 but underlined its “sound financial footing” to weather the recession.

Turnover fell from £123.1m to £74.8m and it made a pre-tax loss of £1.1m after £1m of exceptional charges that related to redundancy costs and expenses surrounding its refinancing deal.

The refinancing deal, which included a debt-for-equity swap with banker RBS and a share issue of £12m, left the group with net cash of £8.7m at 30 June.

Ivan McKeever
McKeever: "well placed to take advantage of the market upturn and maintain our market leading position"

Chief executive Ivan McKeever said: “Whilst we are aware that the recovery will be slow, we are confident that the group's strong balance sheet, coupled with our continued focus on cost controls, cash generation and strong customer relations, means that we are well placed to take advantage of the market upturn and maintain our market leading position.”

Its food retail customers include Waitrose, Tesco and Lidl, while it also works with banks including Lloyds and Barclays.

In relation to the retail sector, the firm said: “We expect retailers to continue to control capital expenditure for the remainder of 2009 before beginning to increase investment as the market recovers and importantly as unemployment peaks, which it is forecast to do in the first half of 2010.”

The company is also looking to enter new sectors to grow the business, including office, leisure and public sector work.

McKeever added: “We are at the beginning of the end of the recession, not the start of the recovery. There are still six to 12 months of tough trading ahead.”