Hitting the high notes: Gear4Music profits rocket 371% as Britons turn to making music and ‘sound therapy’ instruments to beat lockdown blues
- Pre-tax profits rose by £11.5m to £14.6million in the year to the end of March
- Guitars, digital keyboards and pianos flew off the virtual shelves
- Lockdown saw growth of new niches, such as instruments for sound therapy
- Trading in the past three months has been stronger than expected
Online instrument retailer Gear4Music has emerged as a massive lockdown winner after more people decided to learn to play music or improve their skills to beat the lockdown blues.
The York-based company said pre-tax profits rose by a whopping 371 per cent to £14.6million in the year to the end of March – or an increase of £11.5million from the £3.1million it made in 2019.
Guitars, digital keyboards and pianos flew off the virtual shelves, with sales of Gear4Music own-brand instruments doing particularly well, as people trying their hand at instruments for the first time preferred their ‘intermediate and beginner products’.
Music to its ears: Gear4Music saw sales rise 31% last year and profits rocket 371%
The company said the lockdown also saw the development of new product niches, such as instruments for sound therapy.
Revenues rose 31 per cent to £157.5million, with strong growth of 42 per cent during its first half, when the first lockdowns were introduced across Europe, giving way to softer growth of 23 per cent in the second half.
It comes as the company increased the number of active customers by 32 per cent to over 1million over the last year.
Chief executive Andrew Wass said that while the company was unlikely to see the same level of sales and profits growth during the current year, trading so far has been stronger than expected – and that figures for this year will likely be ahead of expectations.
Shares in AIM-listed Gear4Music rose 1.4 per cent to £9.41 in afternoon trading on Tuesday.
The muted response from investors to the spectacular figures highlights how they have already watched Gear4Music post stellar growth in recent years.
Shares have climbed from £1.39 in the summer of 2015, to £7 in December last year and to £9.45 today.
With lockdowns across Europe begin to ease and live gigs and performances starting again, the company expects demand for products like PA systems and stage lighting that have slowed during the pandemic to pick up again.
‘We expect that alongside the accelerating shift to e-commerce, these factors will ensure the trading environment for the Group remains favourable,’ Wass said.
‘The outlook and general demand for musical instruments and equipment remains positive, and with the strategies and actions we are taking, we remain confident of delivering sustainable and profitable growth in the long-term,’ he added.
During the year, the company made two acquisitions, including Premier, a drums and percussion brand dating back to 1922, and Eden, a bass guitar amplification brand previously owned by Marshall.
And said it will look to make more acquisitions this year, which may include existing brands already sold by Gear4music or ‘profitable retailers operating in compatible parallel markets’.
Due to Brexit, it will open up two new distribution hubs, one in Dublin and one in Barcelona, with the latter set to ‘significantly’ reduce UK-EU cross border costs and the timing of deliveries across Southern Europe.
Both will be fully operational by the end of this year, it said.
Gear4Music already has showrooms in York, Sweden and Germany. It sells own-brand musical instruments as well as from famous brands like Fender, Yamaha and Roland.
Ger4Music shares have climbed from £1.39 in the summer of 2015 to over £9 today