Luxury interior furnishings firm Walker Greenbank (WGB:AIM) continues to walk tall at home and abroad. A bullish trading update from the Sanderson and Morris & Co brand owner flags brisk UK business and an acceleration in international sales growth, sending the shares 8p higher to 208p.
Click here to read Walker Greenbank's AGM update, which covers the opening four-and-a-half months of the financial year. Chairman Terry Stannard announces 8.1% year-on-year growth in the UK, Walker Greenbank's biggest market, where an improving housing market and resurgent contracts sector are tailwinds.
There's also news of 10.1% growth in overseas brand sales with a boost from the Anthology brand, designed primarily for export markets. Significantly, sales in the US shot up 27% to become Walker's second biggest market, assisted by last year's refurbishment and extension of the Aim company's New York showroom. Across the pond, sales comparatives are soft over the next few months, so investors can confidently expect positive US earnings surprises.
Shares has consistently championed the wallcoverings-to-fabrics manufacturer's competitive strengths, spearheaded by its heritage and contemporary brand portfolio that also includes Harlequin and Zoffany. Walker's brands are gaining traction everywhere from Western Europe to China and Japan, while the business is reaping the benefits of well-invested wallpaper and fabric printing factories in the UK.
Though idle over the past 12 months, Walker Greenbank's shares have been on an upwards trajectory for years. The lion's share of the credit goes to energetic CEO John Sach (pictured above), the driving force behind a business transformed from a staid wallpaper maker into an international lifestyle brand. For background on the Walker Greenbank story, check out my 2013 Griller interview with the man himself.