Plumbers pump millions into major re-branding
Published:  13 July, 2009

BURNLEY: A progressive North West company is to re-invest millions of pounds of company profits in an ambitious plan to beat the recession.

Bosses at Burnley-based James Hargreaves (Plumbers' Merchants have agreed to invest £3m into six key areas, believing the cash injection will safeguard the long-term future of the business.

The major changes include a major re-branding initiative, which will see the company split into three clearly defined areas - James Hargreaves Bathrooms, James Hargreaves Plumbing, and James Hargreaves Renewables.

A further chunk of the cash has been designated for a new trade counter in South Sheffield. There are also plans to open a new bathroom showroom and trade counter in Stockton-On-Tees later this year.

The company is also investing in a new warehouse and administration facility at its main site in Burnley, and there are plans to install a new computer and telephone system.

The moves, said managing director, Gordon Rothwll, "are a bold statement of intent at a time when many competitors are making cutbacks to survive the downturn".

He is confident the strategy will enable the company to emerge in a position of greater strength.

"With the economy in tatters we have developed a strategy to see us through the worst trading conditions in recent memory.

"Our competitors are all in a state of meltdown, rushing to decrease stocks, lay off staff and generally reduce costs no matter what, with little thought for the future.

"We have decided that the best form of defence is attack.

"The next 12 months will see a short-term deterioration in the profitability of the business. However, the investments we are making now will give us a payback over the next 10 to 20 years and also position us to be quickest out of the blocks come the end of the recession."

As well as investing in the company's infrastructure, Mr Rothwell believes investment in staff is just as crucial to the firm's long-term prosperity.

"We expect to retain all of our most valued resource - the staff! We are committed to recruiting the most talented people from within our industry, who have found themselves without a job.

"We are planning for the future rather than being distracted by the all-too-compelling obsession with the present.

"We find that price is not the be all and end all. What is most important to our customers is the fact we have the products they require today on the shelf, and they know we can deliver them in full and on time."

James Hargreaves (Plumbers Merchants) Ltd is one of the biggest plumbers merchants in the North of England, with 24 branches across Lancashire and Yorkshire.

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