Storm Desmond hits Sanderson home furnisher`s profits
December 14, 2015, 5:25 pm

The maker of Sanderson and William Morris wallpapers and fabrics has said a flood at its factory in Lancashire caused by Storm Desmond will hit its profits.

Walker Greenbank said profits would be 15% below forecasts.

The UK company hopes the majority of printing will resume at its Lancaster fabric factory by the end of April.

Sanderson and Morris & Co, which both date back to the 1860s, sell wallpaper, bed linen, rugs and tableware.

December lull

John Sach, chief executive of Walker Greenbank, told the BBC some customer orders would be affected, but it was "too early" to say how many.

He said executives had only been able to start assessing the damage at the factory, which had been hit by 3ft-4ft of water, when the electricity was switched back on last Thursday.

But the impact was softened as December is traditionally the factory`s slowest month and not much stock was being stored there, he said.

Most of the fabric printing activity is in October and November as shoppers look to "decorate the house for Christmas", he said.

Analysts had forecast Walker Greenbank, which sells into more than 85 countries, would make pre-tax profits of £8.7m for the year to 31 January.

The company is still in the early stages of assessing the damage to machinery, stock and other business assets at the Standfast & Barracks site.

Insurance cover

Walker Greenbank, which is valued at £127m, said its insurance would fully cover the losses and that it expects to recover the profits shortfall.

Sanderson was founded in 1860 as an importer of French wallpapers, while Morris & Co was established a year later by Victorian artist William Morris.

Walker Greenbank also owns furnishing brands Harlequin, Zoffany, Scion and Anthology.

Shares in Walker Greenback fell 4% to £2.03 in early trading.

Storm Desmond led to more than 43,000 homes in Lancashire and Cumbria suffering from power cuts earlier this month, while an estimated 5,200 homes were affected by flooding.


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