“2018: two seasons in one”18/02/2019
For the Desjoyaux Pools group, the fiscal year begins on the 1st September and ends on the 31st August. As we are currently assessing our activities in 2018, we are seeing two very distinct seasons: the first, from September to December 2017, was extremely positive, as we recorded a double-figure increase in signed contracts for new constructions over this 4-month period. January on the other hand heralded the beginning of a more complicated period mainly punctuated by foul weather across most of the country. This led to delays on construction sites and less calls for estimates, because there is logically less demand for pools when it’s cold and rainy.
Subsequently, certain projects which had initially been scheduled during the first quarter weren’t completed before the spring. During this period, dealers and their teams put in a lot of hard work and organisation to get things finished in a limited timeframe. Luckily, the fine weather in July and August marked the return of a very promising situation, and a strong rise in requests for estimates. We eventually made up for the dip in sales generated by the adverse spring weather, and ended 2018 on an increase. Better still, we are optimistic for 2019, owing to our favourable results throughout September and October. The uncertain weather has reinforced our confidence in the strategy we have developed, which consists in anticipating, whenever possible, by getting more pools finished during the autumn period to avoid a glut in spring. Extending our network, and therefore our sales and construction capabilities, will act as a real performance lever in this context.
Other key points we have noted: we are installing more and more equipment with our pools, and the average sizes of installed pools are clearly larger than those installed in 2017, although we have also noted that over a longer period, the size of pools installed has tended to drop. Urban constraints, the price of land, and the fact that some customers live in outlying suburbs all contribute to this change. Ultimately, along with the developments I have just mentioned, this year we have witnessed a significant rise in the average price of pools per customer. This situation is most probably the result of the communication campaigns we have been conducting since 2015. They highlight the very attractive price of a 6 x 3 m pool, and are generating a strong rise in demands, with lots of customers now asking for larger pools and more equipment.
The trading aspect has also fluctuated this year. Luckily, yet again the summer months were highly encouraging, and we ended the season with a marked rise in several families of products, such as covers, rollers, robots, and chlorinators.
The assessment for this year is auspicious despite the weather, and could have been even better if the companies hadn’t had to deal with two sometimes unfavourable situations:
– The lack of qualified technicians in some geographical areas — a “technical shortage” that sometimes hinders company development.
– The second concerns urban planning. We have also noted that the time required to investigate notifications prior to construction work is getting longer, as the documents required often vary from one municipality to another. Ultimately, files are often delayed owing to more restrictive investigations: local development plan, habitat loss and degradation, land-use ratio, etc.
The POOL activity