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Restructured Armit comes out fighting

Published:  31 March, 2020

Significant restructuring at Armit Wines following new MD Brett Fleming’s appointment has seen improved performance, stemming a decline in the second half of FY2019 with far reaching change to its business strategy.

Following the restructuring implemented by Fleming from November 2019, a statement released by the company said that turnover was £22.6m for the 12 months to end of FY2019, compared to £27.8m for the 15 months ended 30 June 2019, while gross profit stood at £4.7m.

The company said profit before tax had been impacted by “exceptional costs associated with the restructuring of the business” which, nonetheless, had delivered a 6% sales uplift during the second half of FY2010.

Speaking to Harpers, Fleming explained that following a seven month period when the company had no MD, from his appointment in November he has realigned the business to focus on its core strengths, including its private client business and fine wines, plus indies and regional wholesalers, while rationalising its range.

“The company effectively got itself shipshape. I was appointed to have the vision to take Armit to where I believe we can go, back to the original vision of founder John Armit, and we are on schedule to post a very healthy EBITDA, and that is reflected in our trading,” said Fleming.

“The first six months have shown an increase in sales and that is driven from the first part of this year, with Armit’s business model, we have had successful campaigns for our Italian wines and Bordeaux, with demand outstripping supply, so have to allocate,” he added.

In a clear bid to reassure the trade that Armit is back at full tilt and ready to fight through the challenges of the coronavirus (Covid-19), Fleming said the company will be “very close” to achieving budgeted sales for the current period, down 10% or so, “which is extraordinary in this current climate”.

With the on-trade “smashed”, cutting off “a critical part of our business”, Fleming currently remains confident that sales to private clients, regional wholesalers and independent merchants will remain strong, so long as supply chains and delivery remain able to operate, currently reporting few major issues with moving goods out of Italy, France and Spain – the strengths of its portfolio.

“We are driving Armit with a long term vision, we want to take it back to what John Armit had, with family-owned, terroir driven wines, and as distributor focus on the right channels for our portfolio,” said Fleming.

“Despite the crisis, we are planning to land at about £20m [turnover] this year, and our vision in three to five years, is to grow to £30m and maybe grow up to £50m, if we can find the right suppliers. Armit is strong and healthy, despite what the numbers said at end of last year, and hopefully the trade will weather this storm.”