Bettys & Taylors sees profits slip but online sales rise in pandemic

Bettys and Taylors Group grew its sales during 2020 – despite its tearooms being closed for months during lockdown, the company has revealed.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:25 pm
Bettys tearooms were closed for much of last year. PHOTO: Gerard Binks.

Sales at Harrogate’s best-known family business grew by two per cent to £232.9m in the year ending October 31, 2020, after online sales soared through the pandemic.

The group said its performance was underpinned by strong growth for Yorkshire Tea, Taylors of Harrogate Coffee, and Bettys online mail order service. Yorkshire Tea in particular cemented its position as the top brand in the tea market, with an annual value share of 31.1 per cent – up from 28.8 per cent in 2019.

Despite all six of its tearooms being closed for months, the group paid all of its 1,545 staff in full during the periods of closure and did not take advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.

However, total operating profit did fall by £1m to £14.9m.

Group finance & resources director, Paul Cogan, said: “We started our 2020 financial year in an optimistic mood. We’d recently celebrated our centenary and we were investing in strengthening our business for the future. Little did we imagine that the first year of our second century of trade was set to become one of the most challenging years in our history.

“Like most other businesses, we’ve faced considerable disruption throughout the pandemic – in particular, the full closure of our Bettys branches for four months during our 2020 financial year.

“We feel very fortunate to have achieved what can only be described as an exceptional performance in the most unusual of years.”

Bettys & Taylor’s also invested £484,000 – both financial and in kind – in charitable and community activities in the UK, and a further £1,423,075 into initiatives to support the long-term sustainability of its tea and coffee supply chain.

“The pandemic has affected every area of our business and we’ve had to be agile to overcome daily challenges,” said Mr Cogan.

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate that our customers found us a reassuring presence during a time of turmoil and we’re hugely appreciative of their support, as well as the commitment and creativity of our people.

“Our teams pulled together to support each other, implement new ways of operating and serving our customers, with many people moving to new roles to keep our business going.”