Sun | Jan 17, 2021

SOS to sell home office gear

Published:Friday | November 20, 2020 | 12:12 AMSteven Jackson - Senior Business Reporter
Allan McDaniel, deputy managing director of Stationery & Office Supplies Limited.
File Allan McDaniel, deputy managing director of Stationery & Office Supplies Limited.

Facing a new paradigm of smaller offices and staff working remotely from home, the inevitable implication of which is reduced demand for office furniture, Stationery and Office Supplies Limited, SOS, has started offering home office furniture to make up revenue.

“It has opened up an office home line that was not there before. We have been selling to the home market with a few of our items, but in the next few months we will be stocking a complete home line that persons can come and choose from without waiting,” said Deputy Managing Director Allan McDaniel.

The line will include chairs, tables and the sort, not general household furniture.

“Home furniture as in beds and sofas — no; that is a completely different market that we are not entering at this time,” he said.

Stationery and Office Supplies revenues fell 17 per cent to $240 million in the September quarter, from $288 million a year earlier.

Company directors described the third quarter as difficult with the effects of the COVID-19 virus still present. The period was characterised by the biggest spike in cases of the virus, and followed earlier quarters of work-from-home orders and staff cuts across Jamaica that resulted in an erosion in business for the stationery and office supplies market.

During the June quarter, SOS suffered its first quarterly loss since joining the Jamaica Stock Exchange in 2017, but returned to profitability in the third quarter with a profit of $6.8 million.

McDaniel said the performance in 2020 should be seen more within the context of recovery, given the extraordinary and unprecedented event that the pandemic represents, rather than comparison to 2019’s record performance.

“It is clear that we have not reached 2019 levels, but what must be noted is that after the initial fallout in the second quarter of 2020, when COVID-19 caused major disruptions in all aspects of the Jamaican economy, we have been able to increase sales in the third quarter of 2020 by 77 per cent over the second quarter of 2020,” the company stated.

At the end of the third quarter, SOS’s total assets increased to $905 million from $888 million in September 2019. And its capital stood at $625 million, up from $596 million.