A well-known supplier of meat and fish to hotels and restaurants has highlighted challenges posed by the fallout from Brexit after returning to profit following the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
Campbell’s Prime Meat noted that it has enjoyed a rapid recovery in sales and profitability since April after falling into the red last year.
Accounts filed at Companies House by the family-owned firm show it made an operating loss of £2.4 million in 2020 compared with a £0.5m profit in the preceding year. Turnover fell by around 40 per cent last year, to £31m, from £54m.
Writing in the accounts, directors of the West Lothian-based company said: “The loss in the year was caused entirely by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdowns resulted in the closure of many customers … every month in 2020 was loss-making with the exception of August and September which saw an easing of lockdown and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.”
Growth in online sales provided come compensation.
Following the recovery in trading since the leisure and hospitality sector opened up again, directors appear confident about the prospects for the business. They wrote: “Unless there is a further nationwide lockdown our recovery in sales and profitability has already been successfully achieved.”
In their report dated September 24, the directors noted: “Employee numbers were reduced from a 2019 peak of 345 to a low of 250 at the start of 2021. Numbers have since been increased and stand at 280 in August.” The business made extensive use of the furlough scheme during lockdowns in both 2020 and 2021.
The directors said it had become more difficult to recruit staff following Brexit as many EU nationals have gone home and there are fewer seeking work in Scotland because the UK has left the EU. They said continental products had become more difficult to source citing price increases and delayed deliveries.