HUNDREDS of staff are set to benefit after national auction house John Pye Auctions has pledged to donate £1 million of its profits to staff after the business revealed details of its most successful year to date.
The year-end management accounts for 2020/2021 show a turnover of £26.6 million, an increase of 18% from £21.8 million in the previous trading year, and as such have shown a pre-tax net profit for 2020/2021 of £2,587,000.
More than 40% of the year’s profits - £1,030,000 - will be given to eligible staff who have stayed with the family business during the last year and been part of its successful growth and diversification.
Adam Pye, managing director at John Pye & Sons, said: “We are delighted and equally humbled by these results, particularly in such difficult trading conditions. The John Pye family business has more than 620 staff which we regard as extended family.
“While public viewings were not possible, the business had to react to ensure purchases could still confidently bid and receive their items with a swift turnaround. The result saw more operational innovation in the first three months than we had seen at John Pye in the past four years. Our staff ensured that we continued to trade when we were legally allowed to and, as a result, we believe it is only fair that their tremendous hard work is a rewarded by a huge share of the year’s profits.”
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, John Pye Auctioneers was shut down immediately after being classed as a public risk by the government. Physical trade was brought to a standstill in Scotland for six months, Wales for three and England for two. As a result, the company was forced to make wholesale changes to its business structure.
Previously, John Pye focused on the selling of tangible assets through principal sales outlets of more than 60 public auction rooms across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In a week, they would have previously anticipated over 30,000 bidders attending their physical premises. However, due to rapidly changing legislation in each of the different four home nations, John Pye had to adapt their approach and provide greater detail of items available to purchase as well as offer delivery for the first time.
Megan Martin, a customer service adviser for John Pye said: “I’ve never experienced anything like this at any company I’ve worked for. Despite the circumstances we’ve had the most profitable year to date. It wasn’t always easy but we managed to pull together and adapt quickly - we’re proud to have helped the company progress and even grow through this difficult period.”
Undeterred by the pressures of the pandemic, John Pye took entrepreneurial risks such as opening two new sites to accept client stock, despite making hundreds of thousands of pounds of losses a month - a decision which would end up paying dividends for the company.
Despite a range of radical business decisions made by John Pye Auctioneers, Adam Pye was quick to praise the swift and decisive action of the UK’s governments, saying: “Without the furlough scheme we could have run out of money within months while the Welsh Government provided a grant of £75,000, simply due to the amount of people we had employed in Wales we had on our books.”
John Pye Auctions is the UK’s biggest general auction network, holding more than 2000 auctions a year, and has previously been named as the fastest growing auction company in the UK.