North east independent builders merchant James Burrell posted a loss of almost £400,000 in the year to October 31 2009.
Sales fell to £32.5m from £43.9m and the company blamed much of the loss on the fact that credit insurance was withdrawn on so many customers. The firm, which made a profit of £5,819 during its previous financial year, also said it had seen its workforce drop from around 210 since August 2008, when it first noticed a sharp decline in orders.
However, its directors are “cautiously optimistic” about the short term and estimate a return to annual sales of around £45m in two years’ time once the construction market recovery is underway.
Like-for-like sales rose 25% in March and the company has already re-employed two former members of staff.