By Scott Wright

MACFARLANE Group has declared it expects to see weaker growth in sales to e-commerce customers throughout the rest of 2022, after a sluggish start in the first few months of the year.

The Glasgow-packaging specialist reported yesterday that the recovery of sales to the hospitality and industrial sectors had been offset by weakness in e-commerce, compared with the same period last year, in the period since January 1. E-commerce sales are expected to remain weak, though the company said it made a “solid start” to 2022 overall, with first-quarter sales and profits from continuing operations running ahead of last year.

The company told the stock market: “We expect weaker sales in the e-commerce sector to continue for the remainder of the year, offset by recovery in the industrial and hospitality sectors and the benefit of new business wins. Macfarlane will continue to manage inflationary pressures in input prices and operating costs, mainly labour, energy and transport.”

Macfarlane noted that sales at its dominant packing distribution division had grown by 16% since the start of the year. The uplift has been driven by supplier-driven price increases and the acquisition of Carters Packaging (Cornwall) in March 2021.

The company’s manufacturing operations division grew sales by 93%, boosted by the acquisition of GWP Holdings in February 2021, and a strong performance from its design and manufacture business, which mainly serves industrial markets.

Chairman Stuart Paterson said: “We have consistently demonstrated our ability to address the challenges in the market and we are confident that the effectiveness of our strategy.”

Macfarlane held its annual meeting in Glasgow yesterday. All resolutions were passed.