Retail Interiors - Morris & Spottiswoode predicts 30% increase in sales for 2004

Scotland-based shopfitter Morris & Spottiswoode is forecasting 30 per cent growth this year, which should see sales reach£85 million.

The bullish projection is based on a raft of new clients and 'the buoyant existing client base', according to chief executive George Morris.

M&S, Tesco, HBOS and Somerfield are among the names that have recently agreed deals with the company, alongside Asda and Royal Bank of Scotland, which have been clients for several years.

Much of the new business is coming from south of the border, according to Morris. With this in mind, the company is moving its Birchwood office, near Warrington, to larger offices in February.

The optimistic view of the shopfitting status quo is confirmed by Uno managing director Dominic Perks. He bought Uno from receivers in late 2002, and the past year has seen sales rising from£4 million to£6.8 million. He said: 'We've grown from 28 to 78 staff, moved premises and doubled our client list in just 14 months.'

But a note of caution is sounded by Hew Balfour, chief executive of Havelock Europa, the UK's second largest shopfitting company. 'It would be hard to say that's going to be a very good year. Where you have retailers going on Sale in December, it must be indicative of a more general malaise. Our POP division was very busy in the run-up to Christmas, because people were asking for sale material.'

He added: 'We think 2004 will be flat. We're not expecting any fireworks and we're taking appropriate action.'