Scottish promotional specialist hails the growing return of retail

Marketing and promotions specialist SpaceandPeople said it is increasingly confident in the outlook for the business as easing Covid restrictions led to a rebound in trading activity in the second half of last year.

The Scottish firm provides promotional and pop-up space in hundreds of venues across the UK and Germany, including the Braehead and Buchanan Galleries shopping centres in Glasgow. The re-opening of non-essential retail from the middle of last year saw revenues for 2021 rise by 61 per cent to £4.5 million, up from £2.8m in 2020.

The strong trading update provided a significant boost to the company’s share price, albeit from depressed levels. The stock, which trades on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), finished yesterday’s session 4.55p higher at 13.8p, an increase of nearly 50%.

The recovery in trade was set back to a degree by government advice for people to stay at home as much as possible in the key December period, following the outbreak of the Omicron variant. However, activity since then has once again started picking up.

“Trading has continued to recover in early 2022 in both the UK and Germany and the board is increasingly confident on the outlook for the business and has the resources and opportunities to deliver sustained and improved financial performance,” SpaceandPeople said.

HeraldScotland: The Glasgow-based company has also expanded its rail offeringThe Glasgow-based company has also expanded its rail offering

The company is headed by Nancy Cullen, who set up the business in 2000 with co-founder Matthew Bending. Mr Bending led the company for 20 years, overseeing its flotation on AIM in 2005, before standing down in 2020 and making way for Ms Cullen’s promotion from chief operating officer.

SpaceandPeople said it had cash of £1.35m as of the end of December, up from £800,000 a year earlier, plus £2m of term loans and £750,000 of undrawn banking facilities. Cash headroom therefore increased to £2.1m versus £1.3m at the end of 2020.

The previous owner of Braehead, Intu Properties, went into administration in June 2020 after racking up losses of £2 billion as its was forced to write down the value of its portfolio of shopping centres following the closure of the vast majority of the retail sector. The shopping complex now operates under the management of Global Mutual and Savills.

In March of last year, SpaceandPeople announced that it had signed exclusive agreements with seven former Intu venues, including Braehead, for the management of short-term promotional and retail space. The addition of Braehead, the Metrocentre in Gateshead, the Lakeside in Grays, the Victoria in Nottingham, Atria Watford, Chantry Place in Norwich, and the Potteries Centre in Stoke-on-Trent expanded the Glasgow-headquartered company’s portfolio to more than 75 shopping centres throughout the UK.

READ MORE: Scottish firm SpaceandPeople expands rail offering

“We are looking forward to placing exciting and innovative brand experiences and pop-up retail into these centres,” Ms Cullen said at that time.

“Our network of venues has been significantly enhanced by the inclusion of these high-profile shopping centres. Along with our exclusive contract for activity in major London stations, this positions us firmly as the market leader in the provision of space for brands and pop-up retailers.”

That same month, SpaceandPeople also announced a major expansion of its rail offering with exclusive, multi-year contracts with regional network operators Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Northern Railway and Merseyrail, taking its portfolio of regional train stations to more than 900.

SpaceandPeople made an operating loss of £2.1m in 2020, versus a profit of £100,000 the previous year, as revenues tumbled to £2.8m from £7.7m. It was supported by a £1m CBILS loan in the first half of 2020.

The company expects to post its results for 2021 by the end of April.

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