With business performance in the residential pool sector heavily reliant on a sizzling summer season to boost sales, the UK weather remains as hard to predict as the UK economy.
Initial reports by UK Weather Forecast (UKWF) suggest that an ‘average’ summer this year. Despite some spells of sunshine and warmth, there could be some persistent spells of wet weather and heavy downpours.
The record high temperatures of last year resulted in a much welcomed spike in sales for the UK pool and spa sectors and heralded the return of the feel good factor to the UK water leisure economy – a trend which has continued into 2015.
With a general election on the horizon, the water leisure industry is feeling upbeat and confident as we head into the summer season. While servicing and maintenance remains steady, many companies have reported a higher than average level of enquiries for new installations during the first few months of the year.
Tony Exell of Kent-based XL Pools commented: “In 13 years of trading, I would say that we are in the best position we have ever been in, most notably in terms of new project enquiries.
“Servicing is steady and we have retained clients as well as gained a handful of new ones, but it’s the new installations that have really taken off. Customer attitudes are positive and we’re feeling optimistic about the year.”
Laurence Pearce of Bell Leisure in Sussex said: “It’s been an encouraging start to the year and I would say that we’re busier now than we were at this point last year.
“We’ve already had a high level of quotes for new residential pools and refurbishments and the servicing side of the business has also been busy. The retail side is quiet, although that tends to kick in a bit later.
“I think there is generally more confidence within the industry and among our customers. The positive direction of the economy has a knock-on effect and there’s definitely a feel good factor in the air as we head into the summer season.”
Steve Conway of Merlin Swimming Pools in Essex added: “We have had a very busy start to the year to the point where we have actually had to turn work away.
“Demand for new pools has been the strongest area of growth, but ‘refurbs’ and servicing work is also going strong. It should be a good year.”