Johnson Service Group (JSG), a leading UK textile services provider with CEO Peter Egan, pictured, at the helm is holding its Annual General Meeting today (5 May). The Group made the following statement: “As expected, trading in the first four months of the year has continued to be impacted by the various lockdown restrictions although we are now beginning to see an increase in demand as restrictions are starting to ease.

“Workwear volumes in March were around 96% of normal levels and the Group has seen a slight continuous improvement during April as more businesses were allowed to open.

“Progress continues to be made on the fit-out of our new workwear plant in Exeter and it remains on target for completion in the final quarter of this year.

“In HORECA, volumes in the first quarter were some 11% of normal. We have started to see an increase in activity within our customers as they begin to re-open their businesses in accordance with the various easing of restrictions.  During the last two weeks of April volumes were approaching some 30% of normalised activity with further increases expected as the restrictions, particularly on hotel stays, are relaxed.

“At the end of April, we continued to have 1,450 of our employees on full or partial furlough, although we expect this number to reduce significantly in the coming weeks as employees return to work in response to increasing volumes.

“We have commenced the commissioning of our new hotel linen plant in Leeds as we plan for increasing volumes.  The site is expected to be operational by 17 May, congruent with the anticipated further relaxation of restrictions in England, and will allow us to transfer the work for our Yorkshire based customers that is currently processed in North Wales.  Furthermore, the factory locations that were mothballed over the winter months are also now operational, albeit with reduced headcount in line with current volumes.

“We continue to be confident in our ability to be agile and responsive to increasing volumes from our customers as the hospitality market recovers over the coming months. Our strong balance sheet means that we are well positioned to continue to invest in the business to support our long-term growth prospects.

“As previously announced, Bill Shannon is to retire from the Board at the conclusion of the AGM.  At the same time, Jock Lennox, who was appointed to the Board on 5 January 2021 as an independent non-executive director and chair designate, will become chair of the JSG Board.  The Board would like to thank Bill for his significant input and counsel during his years as both a non-executive director and latterly as chairman.”