Mersey window and door maker defies the gloom

Revenues more than double to almost £12m at Merseyside window and door manufacturer Warwick North West as the firm defies the economic gloom. Tony McDonough reports

Greg Johnson
Greg Johnson, managing director of Warwick North West in Bootle. Picture by Tony McDonough


Specialist Merseyside window and door manufacturer Warwick North West says revenues have more than doubled in the past three years despite rising costs.

From its factory in Bootle, close to the River Mersey, Warwick North West produces Innolux, a premium range of PVCu windows and doors. These are supplied to installers, builders and developers across the North West and Yorkshire.

Despite the impact of COVID, and the subsequent post-pandemic rise in energy and raw material costs, Warwick has seen revenues rise from around £5m a year just before the pandemic to £10m in 2021 and just shy of £12m in 2022.

Managing director Greg Johnson, who took over the running of the business from his father Brian in December 2021, told LBN: “This is a challenging time for most businesses but for manufacturers in particular.

“Over the past year we have seen gas and electricity prices just rocket – by 658% and 231% respectively – in financial terms that has added £230,000 to our energy costs. Add to that significantly higher labour costs which are around 20% up.”

Skilled labour is particularly important for Warwick, which employs 115 people. Over the past few years it has invested around £1M in new machinery and processes but there are particular tasks that still require a high degree of manual skill.

These skills include gearing and hanging of window and door sash, as well as labour intensive products such as vertical box sash windows and bi-folding doors, manufacturing of double and triple glazed units also is done inhouse and requires experienced skillsets.

“That means we have to make sure we pay at the correct level to both attract and retain skilled staff,” added Greg. “We have a fantastic team here at the Bootle site and we have to make sure we reward them appropriately.

“Over a 12-month period the price of glass, a big chunk of our expenditure, has gone up by around 43%. Other raw materials such as UPVC and hardware such as locks and door hinges now also cost more.

“However, we have adapted well to this fast-changing environment, managing the business and improving efficiency in such a way to negate some of the extra costs. This, in turn, has allowed us to keep our selling price competitive but also not erode margin.”

Warwick was established as Warwick Development North West by Greg’s uncle, Gavin Johnson in 1998, as a manufacturer and supplier of Eurocell PVCu windows and doors to the local trade.

Following increased demand for specialist products across the industry, a separate company, Warwick Sliders, was launched in 2011. This focused on promoting two new products – bi-folding doors and vertical sliders.

In 2015 the firm launched Innolux, a premium range of PVCu windows and doors aimed at the profitable high-end market.

As part of this, the business rebranded as Warwick North West, bringing together the experience and expertise of Warwick Development and Warwick Sliders under one name.

Despite the challenging trading environment, Greg believes the firm can continue to grow over the coming months and years. He believes its willingness to innovate and invest, and keeping its prices reasonable, will offer a competitive edge.

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He explained: “Over the past couple of years we have demonstrated our capacity to adapt quickly to a fast-changing economic and trading environment.

“On a wider point we are seeing significant political pressure, on both a regional and national level, to build many more homes.

“In particular, the social and affordable housing providers are showing a will to build more homes. This presents us with huge opportunities going forward.”

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