Weeks after the collapse of one of the largest national installers of windows and doors, Everest 2020 Ltd, it has been revealed that the company went under owing more than £30m to a variety of creditors.

Array of creditors

On June 20th new documents were published on Companies House which detailed the creditors to which Everest 2020 owed money to. You can view that particular document by clicking here.

It is a mighty list, with HMRC and suppliers taking the brunt of the damage. Looking at the documents, it was obvious the future of the company was never going to be a positive one, with market conditions and a failure to adapt to a very changed market contributing to the downfall of the company.

In the end, the closure of Everest resulted in the loss of more than 350 jobs. In June 2020 a pre-pack administration managed to save the company and let it limp on for a few more years. But even back then I think most of the sector realised that time for a company like Everest was ticking away.

The ending of what was once an iconic brand is a sad one. They were one of the few household brands our sector had, and were one of the companies that propelled PVCu into the mainstream. But the business never adapted. The market around them changed but they did not. Using the same sales methods which the public grew out of a long time ago.

In documents published by administrators ReSolve, COVID and cost increases were blamed as part of a number of reasons for a failure of the business. Even though the pre-pack saved them four years ago, the business was not able to ride out this particularly difficult period of trading.

End of the national model?

We are down to just one national installer, Anglian. The brands, assets and order books of Safestyle and Everest have been swallowed up by Anglian and now trade as brands underneath that business.

But are we looking at the end of the national model altogether? You only need to look at the books of Anglian to see that their last financial year is comfortably not as good as the previous. They will be coming under the same pressures and strains as Safestyle and Everest did. Could they run into trouble at some point in the medium term too?

Keeping a national installations business afloat at a time like this is a difficult model to run. These are big beasts to feed. They require constant turnover to keep their low-margin models going. Small bumps in the road can be enough to pull the rug from companies who require mass volume at low margins. Our industry is still in a quiet period and the hesitation caused by the upcoming election is not helping. Are we now moving into an era in our industry where national or maybe even large regional installers will simply become consigned to history?

What this is though is a great opportunity for SME installers to impress upon it’s customers their generally better levels of service, quality and value for money. Speaking from experience customers still like to support local businesses. With larger businesses struggling to stay around it is the longevity of smaller, higher quality companies that will stand out during times of turbulence and recession.

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