Arco sales get close to £300m mark as profits rise to £10.2m

Hull-based safety wear company Arco grew its sales to nearly £300m last year as it continues to face an increasingly competitve marketplace.

19 February 2014: Arco, Hull, East Yorkshire.
Directos (l-r) David Evison and Neil Jowsey.
Picture: Sean Spencer/Hull News & Pictures Ltd
01482 772651/07976 433960
19 February 2014: Arco, Hull, East Yorkshire. Directos (l-r) David Evison and Neil Jowsey. Picture: Sean Spencer/Hull News & Pictures Ltd 01482 772651/07976 433960 [email protected]

In the 12 months to June 30 last year Arco posted sales of £295.1m, an increase of 2.6 per cent on the previous year’s £287.7m.

The firm’s operating profit was up by 6 per cent to £10.2m from 2017’s £9.6m.

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Company bosses hailed the “encouraging performance” seen in 2018, saying it ”further underpins the company’s long-term strategic development programme”.

During the timeframe of the figures, Arco - who employ more than 1,600 people nationwide - invested £14.5m back into the business, principally in digital and physical infrastructure.

It is due to open a new facility this year in Hull as part of a wider investment programme that includes the £25 million expansion of its National Distribution Centre on Clive Sullivan Way, which will double its warehouse and distribution capacity and create up to 200 new jobs when it opens.

David Evison, Arco’s managing director, said: “In a challenging and uncertain market, we remain on course to meet our growth targets over the next few years.

“We continue to see investment in new technology and infrastructure as the way to achieve these goals.

“The restructure of our sales and service functions announced in March was a difficult decision, but one critical for our long-term plans to serve best our customers.”

The business currently distributes a range of over 170,000 quality assured, branded and own brand products, including personal protective equipment, workwear, safety footwear, gloves, workplace safety and hygiene products.

It also provides professional services encompassing training, consultancy and site services.

It is currently rolling out its digital change programme, designed to foster upskilling for existing staff and new ways of working.

The company has ambitious plans to increase turnover to £500m by 2025.

A spokesperson said: “This investment ensures the business remains relevant in a world of fast-paced digital change, providing the seamless access to expertise expected of the market leader.

“This, together with the centralisation of Arco’s customer support functions and the expansion of its National Distribution Centre will ensure the business has the infrastructure to maintain and grow its market position.”

Arco sells its products via a product catalogue, interactive website and 47-strong retail store network.

Founded in 1884, the firm now has a heritage spanning four generations.

Its corporate and social responsibility programme saw it benefit a number of organisations in 2018, with over 400 days of time donated through volunteering, together with donations of more than £130,000 to over 150 charities and good causes across the UK and beyond.

The firm still donates one per cent of its profits each year to charitable causes, mainly based in the local Hull community.

Last year it joined forces with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) to supply its volunteers with distinctive and practical uniforms during the Tour de Yorkshire.

In 2007, Arco became a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) incorporating their internationally recognised code of labour practice into its own ethical policy.