By Amy MacDonnell on 20 June 2018

After a stellar year of innovation and significant investments, the UK’s largest manufacturer of holiday homes and lodges, Willerby, has announced year on year sales growth of 12.7% in the financial year to September 2017. The company, which employs more than 1,000 people at its Hull headquarters, is now on track to exceed £180 m sales in 2018

In 2016, Willerby’s annual turnover was £147m and in 2017 it reached £166m. The continued growth has been such that almost 200 new jobs have been created within the past two years.

A key driver in Willerby’s continued growth has been its investment in capital equipment in its factory, helping to aid capacity and increase outputs, which supported an improved EBITDA of more than £15m. Capital Expenditure of £1.4m has been invested in factory improvements including new machinery and production lines, as well as IT systems and hardware improvements.

Willerby’s production rate, with up to 35 completed holiday homes and lodges leaving the site every day (in excess of 8,500 units per year - which laid end-to-end would be longer than the Humber River), is testament to its supreme operational efficiency. Recent changes have enabled the factory to be more flexible in responding to the market and improvements in efficiency have been clear to see (workforce has grown by 8.9% in the year, while sales have increased 12.7%).

Another major development for Willerby has been the opening of its second showground - a 6,000sqm site - in Hull in autumn 2017. The venture has already proved extremely popular, with sales in excess of £500k and a line-up of events and open days taking place throughout 2018.

Evidenced by statistics from independent body, National Caravan Council (NCC), Willerby continues to be the market leader of holiday homes in the UK. Its operational performance defines it as the market leader, increasing its sector share with growing momentum in the year.

In summer 2017, Willerby attracted investment from Equistone, one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors. The significant sum is supporting the company’s expansion within the growing UK holiday homes market.

Depth of product offering and its ability to drive innovation has long drawn consumers to Willerby and today the company manufactures 46 different models across 24 product ranges.

Recent achievements include the launch of the UK’s first pet-friendly holiday home and a wheelchair-friendly model; both created in response to shifting consumer trends and demands. The same can be said of Willerby’s new ‘Simply Better Sleep’ mattress upgrade option. Other new models include new luxury lodge, the Juniper, and the family-friendly Skye.

Other coups for Willerby include its inclusion in the 2017 Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 (climbing places from 234 in 2016 to 189 in 2017).

Commenting on a stellar year of results, Willerby CEO Peter Munk said: “A pivotal past 12 months has seen the business enjoy staggering financial growth and groundbreaking innovations coming into realisation - thanks to a skilled and dedicated workforce and absolute focus on the needs and desires of our customers.

We are delighted with the performance. Since 2014, sales have risen from £100m to £166m, and we are on track to deliver £180m sales in 2018”.

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