Strong upturn for shopfitting industry after tough year start

Following a difficult start to the year, the shopfitting industry is experiencing strong growth in the second quarter, according to David Pattison, analyst at research house Plimsoll.

'While it's difficult to take a global view of what's happening, and for the past few years one person's gain has been another's pain, our view is that we are seeing significant upturns in a number of companies. There seems to be a great deal of optimism about, backed by results.'

The view is echoed by George Morris, company chairman of shopfitter Morris and Spottiswoode. 'We're just absolutely under the cosh at the moment. We were quiet for the first quarter, but things are now amazingly busy,' he said.

Bryan Appleyard, managing director of Interserve, the Bournemouth-based shopfitter said: 'We had the same thing last year. It was dead until June and then it went mad. This year I wrote the budget down by£1 million and now I've had to write it up again.'

However, Stuart Norman, group development director at shopfitter Support Services Group (SSG), which numbers Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and Sainsbury's as clients, said that the sporadic pattern of business was not necessarily an advantage.

'We certainly found that the pre-Easter period was very, very quiet, but everything we are now seeing indicates that we will do our budget of£84 million this year.'

He added: 'It doesn't make our lives any easier, it just compresses the time available into the second and third quarters, which means that prices go up and retailers may not get the best value for money from the industry.'

SSG has recently won a£5.8 million contract to fit-out a new Marks & Spencer store at Talbot Green, South Wales. It is also working to fulfil a£20 million contract for House of Fraser's store at Croydon.