Retailers’ worries about the financial security of some of the UK’s largest shopfitting companies is opening doors for Wates.

Wates managing director, retail, Steve Price said the company, which provides shopfitting services to retailers including Boots, Morrisons and John Lewis, is winning new business as major players within the sector struggle to maintain factories and workforces: “They’re talking to us because they’ve got concerns about some of our competitors financial strength,” he said.

Wates’ retailing division laid off around 10 per cent of its employees at the beginning of the year and has a sales target of £160m for 2009, against the figure of £171m which it achieved last year. Price said that to date it has “secured” £110m of business in the current financial year.

Noting that Marks & Spencer had scaled back its “Simply Food” programme, he said: “The market’s there. You’ve just go to work harder to get it.” He added that Boots remained “very active. There are a lot of rebuilds this year and the projects still look solid.”

Wates was ranked second by turnover among UK shopfitters in Retail Week’s Top Shopfitter survey, published last September.