Grafenia sets its sights on US expansion

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Manchester based print company Grafenia Group has noted a large increase in sales at its Nettl business and is now readying plans to launch the Nettl brand in America, whilst at the same time reducing its exposure to the hugely-competitive UK trade printing market.

Alongside its interim results for the six months to 30 September, chief executive Peter Gunning has said that the group has already made progress with plans to roll out its Nettl business in the United States, where regulations will require it to be a franchise offering however.

Grafenia group previously had a Printing.com master licence agreement in Florida and Georgia that operated from 2007, but has since expired. Grafenia plans to officially launch Nettl of America in early 2019.

“We’re very excited about it and we are planning an Expoganza type of event in Orlando in March, aimed at finding new and previous partners,” chief executive Gunning said.

Overall sales in the first half of the year increased by 23% to £8.31m, in part due to the inclusion of the Image Everything business acquired in the summer of 2017. Furthermore, the Nettl Business Store format drove a 12% increase in sales on a like-for-like basis.

Group operating losses almost tripled however, rising from £470k to £1.36m, on the back of a £1.18m increase in overheads to £4.63m.

This included costs related to acquisitions and the start-up investment related to the US expansion plans, as well as additional spending on store and partner performance personnel and the group’s finance team so whether these one-off expenses can be offset with increased US revenues without cutting its UK cost base is yet to be seen, although industry insiders envisage some cost cutting in early 2019.