THE firm behind iconic cast-iron Aga cookers has posted a 3% drop in revenues but insisted it can still return to pre-credit crunch levels of trade.
Aga Rangemaster wants at least half of its revenues to be generated from outside the UK, compared with 37% last year, as it believes its products are now better suited for international markets.
It sold 11,000 cookers in 2011, a drop of 6% on a year earlier, but sales of its Aga cookers were flat following May’s launch of an electric equivalent, controlled by a hi-tech touchscreen, that can heat up in 22 minutes, compared to around six hours for the original design.
Despite the latest sales decline, Aga said it continued to believe it can restore cast-iron cooker sales to 19,600, the level seen in 2007.
Sales volumes for its Rangemaster range of cookers were around 62,000 units in 2011, below the 2007 level of 76,000, but good demand from France in 2011 has fuelled hopes that it will be able to drive export orders.
It added: “We still do not expect material volumes changes in the UK, given the housing and consumer markets, which makes international sales – contributing over a quarter of Rangemaster sales volumes – so significant.”
Aga has weathered the downturn in sales through cost-efficiency measures made between 2008 and 2010.
Chief executive William McGrath said: “The focus for 2011 was on maintaining our strong balance sheet and growing profit.”