"STYLE-ISH" Windows Reflect Record Profit Growth

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Yorkshire-based Style Group UK has reported record profit growth for 2004 against industry trends.

Against an extremely challenging UK market, Yorkshire-based Style Group UK, Britain’s largest independent replacement PVCu windows and doors manufacturer and supplier, has bucked industry trends and announced a record operating profit of £7.1m for 2004, a 24.6 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of £5.7m.

The profit growth comes on the back of a consolidated turnover increase of 4.5 per cent and marks the fourth year in succession that performance has improved reflecting the new structures, philosophy and focus being followed by the senior management team. For the second year running sales exceeded £100m.

The underlying profit before tax and dividends shows an impressive and continuous growth for one of Yorkshire’s fastest growing companies from £1.493m in 2001, £2.693m in 2002, £5.691 in 2003 to the latest figure for 2004 of £7.090m.

The Style Group UK is the parent company of three specialised subsidiaries including SAFESTYLE UK (http://www.safestyle.co.uk), the easily recognised retail arm operating on the back of its award winning celebrity-fronted television and radio advertising campaigns, WINDOWSTYLE UK, the constantly developing manufacturing arm and TRADESTYLE LTD, the supplier to the non fabricating retailers and installers market.

Safestyle’s operating profit during the year improved by 4.23 per cent as its brand was further developed. Customer recommendations increased, customer standards improved and a reduction in trade debtors in 2004 confirmed the company is meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Tradestyle had an excellent year with turnover increasing by 50 per cent taking it to £6m together with a significant increase in profit.

Windowstyle has seen investment continue with the introduction of a glass toughening furnace. The new unit should improve gross margins, shorten lead times and reduce reliance on external suppliers. Glass unit manufacturing equipment has also been replaced and upgraded. The company has increased its profit margin at a time when there is real upward pressure on raw material costs.

John Ross, the Chief Executive of Style Group, outlines the company performance: "Another year of solid progress with the results being achieved against an industry background of uncertainty and reduced consumer confidence. This undoubtedly illustrates the determined efforts of our management team to focus on profit rather than sales".

He continued: "Unlike our competitors, the Group uses television and radio advertising as one of its prime means of securing leads and our success justifies this route to market. We shall continue to grow market share by producing memorable and creative advertising.

"Safestyle is now well established as one of the largest and best known replacement window retailers in the United Kingdom and that has been reaffirmed this year with increased margins, improved efficiency in our manufacturing processes and tighter control of our overheads. The overall trading performance is highly satisfactory and yet the management team has not relaxed its efforts and we can expect improved results in the future."

Mr. Ross looked at the company’s investment projects and commented: "This year also saw increased capital expenditure and we invested £2.8m in new capital projects. By far the largest investment was in the installation of a toughened glass facility at our Barnsley plant and we are confident that this will not only increase our control of the production process by replacing the amount of work undertaken by suppliers but also provide rapid payback and sustainable cost reductions.

"Our Consumer Credit Licence is an important part of our business and in 2004 it was renewed for a five-year term. As part of that application we reviewed our policies relating to product quality, customer service and support facilities for staff, including health and safety training. This has all resulted in significant changes to improve customer service standards and create a better working environment for our staff."

Mr. Ross summed up the year: "The Style Group has always operated a culture of meritocracy by rewarding and promoting our best performers. This year was no exception and a record number of employees advanced their careers. The Group has reached a size where we are creating a large number of career opportunities for top performers in our industry and we continue to attract the best. The Style Group is in good hands and I confidently expect further progress in future years."

About Style Group UK:

The STYLE GROUP UK is the largest independent manufacturer, supplier and retailer of uPVC windows and doors in the United Kingdom. Since its inception in 1992 the Group has continued to expand and now has 40 branches across the country from the South West to the North East serviced by a large in-house transport fleet. It ranks as one of Yorkshire’s fastest growing companies according to a recent Business Insider Top 500 companies survey published in July 2005, rising from 129th to 88th.

The Group incorporates three specialist subsidiaries catering for manufacture, trade supply and retail as follows:-

WINDOWSTYLE UK is the manufacturing arm and its state-of-the-art factory in Wombwell, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire produces up to 10,000 quality assured frames per week. It is also the area’s largest single employer.

TRADESTYLE UK was established in 2002 and supplies exclusively to non-fabricating retailers and installers. It has its own manufacturing facility and has seen demand for its products at a genuine trade price soar way beyond expectations.

SAFESTYLE UK is the best known name within the Group. It is synonymous with quality and affordability and installs domestic window and door frames valuing in excess of £2 million every week. It is renowned for its memorable, celebrity-fronted television and radio advertising campaigns featuring its value-for-money offers.

For further information please contact:

Ashley Metcalfe

CHS Ltd

+44 1132 362000

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Ashley Metcalfe
SAFESTYLE UK
+44-1132-362000
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