Johnson Dry Cleaners excited about good performance

Dry cleaning business Johnson has seen a return to sales growth after jettisoning more than 100 poorly performing outlets last summer, reports Express & Star.

Its owner Johnson Service Group said there was now an "air of excitement" in the business, which grew like-for-like sales by 1.5% in the second half of 2012 and is performing well so far this year. The restructuring, which involved the closure of 103 of its 460 dry cleaning sites, has cost the company almost £23 million and meant Johnson Service recorded bottom-line losses of £14.2 million for last year. However, it achieved a 10% rise in group-wide underlying profits to £16.3 million after its textile rental arm performed ahead of expectations. That division is made up of Apparelmaster, which provides workwear rental and laundry services to leading firms, and Stalbridge Linen Services, a provider of linen to the hospitality and corporate events market. It bolstered the division with the acquisition of Cannon Textile Care but factories at Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol and Balham were closed and their production volumes absorbed into existing Johnson sites. Chief executive John Talbot said he was confident of further progress this year, with the remaining estate of profitable dry cleaning branches set to benefit from the launch of new services, such as "Drop and Go" laundry. Other initiatives by the Cheshire-based group include eco-friendly GreenEarth cleaning technology and products, which use a liquid silicone solvent derived from sand and breaks down easily into natural elements. And branch managers have been given freedom to use their entrepreneurial skills to drive revenues while a variety of incentive programmes have been introduced. Read more