Builders' merchants JT Dove see sales rise 18%

Directors at builders’ merchants JT Dove have announced a profit share payout to loyal staff after posting an 18% increase in sales

JT Dove managing director Steve Robinson, left, at the Hetton branch with branch manager Paul Frost
JT Dove managing director Steve Robinson, left, at the Hetton branch with branch manager Paul Frost

Directors at builders’ merchants JT Dove have announced a profit share payout to loyal staff after building upon a successful reshape of the business to increase sales by 18% in 2013.

The North East firm, headquartered in Newburn, is seeing the results of a major branch development programme launched in response to the economic downturn, to grow operating profits in 2013 to £805,000 on sales of £33.8m, up from the £28.8m posted in 2012.

The lift in sales and profits means all members of staff who were with the company throughout last year received a profit share of 6% on their annual salaries – an average of £1,400 – in their last pay packet. The payments are made to staff following a move in 1954 by founder Herbert Dove and his wife, to place the business into an Employee Benefit Trust, a trust similar to the John Lewis Partnership so that when it makes a profit the staff can share in its success.

Over the course of the year the business also expanded its workforce and footprint, opening two new branches in Boldon, South Tyneside, and Galashiels, Scottish Borders, and taking on new employees to staff the stores.

In January the 14th branch opened in Hetton, South Durham, and planning permission has been granted for the 15th branch in Alnwick, which will open this summer, creating eight new jobs. The new openings will take total headcount to 195, an increase of 40 employees and an overall rise of 25%.

The expansion reflects the results of an overhaul of the business, which led to it improving its branch network and closing the Tyne Dock timber merchanting site in South Shields in 2011, relocating to a refurbished brownfield site in North Shields in 2012.

Despite housebuilding remaining quiet, the firm’s access to other markets, such as plumbing, heating and home improvements, led to sales rising. Managing director Steve Robinson is projecting growth in sales of 14% for 2014.

He said: “At one point, at the height of the credit crunch, when the housing market was being hit the hardest, we had to make some changes and make some hard decisions to make ourselves resilient.

“Just a few years on and we are starting to feel the benefits of those decisions which means we can increase our investment. The new branches are great news for JT Dove – it means we can reach further afield, and grow new relationships with trade purchasers. It is also heartening, especially for our trustees, for the company to be able to reward our loyal staff base with a profit share pay out.”

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