Emma Bridgewater plans to expand as profits soar 40%
Pottery design firm Emma Bridgewater marked its 25th anniversary by announcing a 40% leap in annual profits and plans to double sales within three years.
The group - famous for its distinctive polka dot design - said it expected to hire another 20% more staff to cope with demand as it benefits from a revival in tea drinking amid the recession. It is forecasting revenues to rise to £20 million by the end of 2012 after seeing a 33% leap to £11 million in the year to April.
Profits surged to £1.25 million over the year thanks to the strong sales, fuelled by Britons drinking more mugs of tea, according to the group.
Emma Bridgewater, who runs the eponymous company with her husband Matthew Rice, said: "Britons have been spending more time in their kitchens during the recession, seeking comfort from drinking more mugs of tea. This has led to a sharp increase in sales of our mugs and jugs in particular."
The firm claims to be the largest company to make all of its output by hand in Britain, with a team of 150 workers producing more than 5,000 mugs, bowls or plates every day from its factory in Stoke-on-Trent.
The company attracts 20,000 people a year to its visitor centre based at the Stoke factory and it wants to expand the site to receive 50,000 visitors a year.
"Our success proves that companies really still can be successful at manufacturing in this country," said Ms Bridgewater. She added that manufacturing needed to be given "greater prominence" in the economy by the new Government.
The firm supplies major UK retailers with a range of designs, including its well known Polka Dot, Union Jack and Toast and Marmalade ranges. It has also designed a 25th birthday range, featuring a silver Toast and Marmalade mug, silver Union Jack mug and a solid silver christening mug.