Recovery gathers pace at Appreciate Group

Based in Liverpool  Appreciate Group offers Christmas savings, vouchers and pre-paid cards for retailers and corporate rewards and is reporting a strong recovery from the pandemic. Tony McDonough reports

20 Chapel Street
Appreciate Group is based at 20 Chapel Street in Liverpool city centre

 

Liverpool-based savings, vouchers and corporate rewards business Appreciate Group is reporting reduced half-year losses as its recovery from the pandemic gains momentum.

The seasonal nature of stock market-listed Appreciate’s business means it typically reports a loss in the six-month period to September 30. This year that figure has come in at £2m, significantly lower than the £6.2m recorded for the same period last year.

That covered the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In 2019 prior to the pandemic, the half-year loss was £1.3m. This year’s loss still exceeds that but it indicates the company is now much closer to normal trading. Full-year pre-tax profits for the year to March 31 had plummeted by 83%.

Appreciate employs around 250 people at 20 Chapel Street. After closing its traditional Christmas hampers operation in 2020 it is now focused on Christmas savings, vouchers and pre-paid cards for retailers and corporate rewards.

The firm reports what it calls ‘billings’. This represents the value of goods and services shipped and invoiced to customers, net of VAT, rebates and discounts. For the latest half-year period billings were up 19.6% to £118.2m, broadly similar to the £120.2m reported for the half year in 2019.

Overall revenue increased 49.6% to £41m, benefiting from redemptions, which had been deferred as a result of lockdowns, being realised as anticipated. Revenue was 23.5% higher than the pre-pandemic period in 2019 when it came in at £33.2m.

Corporate billings are up 20.9% to £80.5m while consumer billings have risen 16.7% to £37.7m. Christmas Savings order book is completed and is14% down as predicted). Its billings have come in at £164m, having been impacted by lockdown restrictions affecting face-to-face agent activity last winter.

Appreciate says its growth in digital continues with digital billings up 15.7% to £28m while paper billings fell from 19.2% to 14.5% within the product mix. 

Ian O'Doherty
Ian O’Doherty, chief executive of Appreciate Group

 

The business has launched its first campaign specifically promoting Love2shop, the brand which underpins all of its products. It got underway earlier this month and will support all consumer and corporate business lines during the key third quarter trading period.

It also said its flagship programme with Everton in the Community, which helps teach young people technology skills, has reached more than 500 schoolchildren. And it is focusing on setting “realistic” future emissions’ reduction targets following the move to the new head office.

Ian O’Doherty, chief executive of Appreciate Group, said: “I am pleased to report a robust performance in the first half of the year, bouncing back strongly from the impact of last year’s lockdowns, and continued progress in delivering on our strategic plans.

“While economic uncertainties remain – particularly from wider supply chain issues and potential rises to the cost of living – we are now in a stronger position to deliver as we are a more efficient business, with an improved digital offering and a platform which is more robust and scalable.”

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