Company’s ‘embarrassing’ success during pandemic
A BRISBANE pool company is performing "embarrassingly well" during the COVID-19 pandemic, recording sky-high sales as stay-at-home families turn their homes into an oasis.
In one of the few business success stories to come from the pandemic, global pool giant Poolwerx - based at Milton - is on track to record a 7 per cent increase in service sales this month.
The jump comes after a 10 per cent increase in March, with Poolwerx CEO John O'Brien declaring homes "the new place of work, study and play".
Mr O'Brien said customers of high and middle incomes were less likely to have lost their jobs during the pandemic and had used cash to improve their surroundings.
"They're spending their money making the home and backyard a better place to retreat and pools are a part of that," he said.
Mr O'Brien said Poolwerx had recorded a 300 per cent spike in pool heating sales while lighting and sound products were also up.
Despite the increase in its retail and service sides of the business, commercial activity has fallen about 8 per cent.
Mr O'Brien said the closure of commercial swimming pools had caused sales to flatline but insisted other areas of the business were picking up the slack.
"I've been through five economic corrections previously and we learnt then learnt not to be a one-trick pony," he said.
"We started as a home services business, morphed into a domestic and commercial service."
Last year the company's same-store revenue increased by 8 per cent last financial year and the 1000-employee company's annual revenue hit $180 million.
Poolwerx, which operates in New Zealand and the United States, hired a small number of extra staff in New South Wales and South Australia to cope with increased demand during the pandemic.
Mr O'Brien said hours and been reduced, but none of his staff had been stood down during the virus.
As COVID-19 restrictions ease Mr O'Brien and the board's focus is shifting to recovery and how the business will manage across the next two-and-a-half years.
"We've already started to turn our mind to planning strategies for us to come out of this and come out of it a stronger business," he said.
"We're looking at the levers in our business plan to adjust according to the scenario.
"It's forced us to be a lot more adjustable and pragmatic in our business."
Originally published as Company's 'embarrassing' success during pandemic