HSS posts loss
30 April 2021
HSS has announced a pre-tax loss of £23.6m in its results for the year ended 26 December 2020. This compares against a £5.8m loss the previous year.
Total revenue declined 17.7%, with HSS’ Rental segment down by 21.0% and Sales down by 3.3%.
CEO Steve Ashmore said that the onset of the pandemic had a significant impact on the business. 134 branches were closed in October 2020 with approximately 300 redundancies.
“During April and May customers shifted to our digital channels, utilising our website and Customer App technology. They also shifted towards delivery rather than collection. These shifts in behaviour accelerated a long-term trend away from branch-based customer interactions,” he said.
“As demand returned in May and June, we resisted the temptation to open up our branch network and instead began trialling remote sales teams. Sales colleagues returned from furlough, but worked from home, responding to customer enquiries and raising orders. This worked extremely well and by September we saw revenue return to 90% of prior year levels with the majority of our branches still closed.”
HSS has also partnered with builders merchants to enable it to maintain national coverage while reducing fixed costs.
Steve Ashmore emphasised HSS’ vision of being “the market-leading digitally-led brand for equipment services,” adding, “we believe there is still a lack of differentiation amongst the leading players, particularly when it comes to digital adoption. Our investment in technology, combined with our transition to a digitally-led and more agile business model, will set us apart going forward.”
● HSS sold Laois Hire, its Irish large plant hire business to Briggs Equipment Ireland Ltd earlier this month, as reported previously.