Niche business umbrella the Hambleton Group reported a £208,000 loss in 2013 due to running costs of its 14-acre Teesside base, and despite positive momentum in its caravans division.
The multi-faceted business, which counts caravan sales, collectable toy auctioneering and art sales among its subsidiary activities, reported a loss of £208,322 in 2013, down from £89,439 profit in 2012.
The Teesside Industrial Estate-based group, owned by entrepreneur Bryan Goodall, said its caravan division had continued to grow and increase in profitability.
As well as new and used caravans the division supplies accessories and operates a service centre as well as a secure caravan storage facility.
The firm’s strategic report said: “Caravan sales, parts and repairs are highly successful and following an improvement in weather in the UK it is expected to increase for 2014.
“Caravan storage continues to be working well, with storage customers utilising the additional services offered by the dealership. The storage remains at capacity with demand exceeding supply.”
Overall turnover at the group fell from £12.8m to £7m due to Hambleton pulling out of coupon clearing activity in 2012.
The group said its exit from this market had been partly mitigated by its manoeuvre into the caravan sales market, which contributed £3.8m to turnover and £543,000 to retained profit.
Hambleton, which employs 77 people and was named among Ward Hadaway’s Fastest 50 list in 2010, detailed its move into the home loans market with the acquisition of Fairbridge Finance.
Elsewhere, the group’s centre for arts business, including its Arts Bank gallery and store, which has now relocated to Hambleton’s head office, has been refocused to become primarily internet based.
Recognition of the increasing vinyl records market led Hambleton to launch its online store - ‘Life of Vinyl’.
A directors report said the group’s auction division, Vectis, made a conscious effort to liquidate stock during 2013, to “vastly” reduce its stock holding.
The move was intended to allow Vectis, which deals with collectables such as vintage toys and comic books, to concentrate on customer collections.
Vectis currently holds more than 50 auctions per year in the North East and Warwickshire. Over the past decade, the auctioneers have gained media exposure for word record prices across its lots, such as £34,000 for a Dinky pre-war No. 28/T Trade Box of Delivery Vans and even £2,200 for a Hornby Miniature Series empty box.