Chris Evans

16th October 2020

The good companies getting it right amid the pandemic

The coronavirus is, without doubt, the biggest disruption most businesses and their leaders will ever face. While the magnitude of the impact it has had on the health of companies and markets is only now starting to become clear, there are, among the despair of job losses and closures, some companies that continue to ride a wave.

Whether their niche offering was ideally suited to the COVID-19 locked-down reality or they managed to pivot into new markets, these companies are performing wonders in markets that have otherwise been hammered by the closure of everyday life.


A good news retail story! Halfords has enjoyed a major boost in business as people rushed to the cycle paths of Britain during the nice weather of the initial spring lockdown. With just 60 minutes exercise a day and warnings that obesity can exacerbate the effects of the virus, people rushed out to buy new bikes.

Whether the good times last for Halfords is hard to say. Once everyone has bought a new bike, where do they go next?

Plimsoll’s latest analysis shows a company with high and rising debt and falling profits in the year preceding the pandemic. Can they use the windfall COVID-19 has afforded them to address those issues? 

Princess Yachts

Who would be an engineering firm building expensive transport systems in 2020 amid this travel- restricting pandemic? Well, Princess Yachts. The Plymouth based yacht manufacturer has such confidence in their business, they have announced record numbers of new apprentices and launched exciting new models for 2021. With a record financial position and full order book, they are bucking the trend that has hammered others across areas such as aerospace and road transport.

The Plimsoll Analysis of Princess Yachts shows a company with vision and direction. It has enjoyed healthy growth and strong margins in the latest year and looks on course to thrive amid the pandemic.


While the rest of the clothing industry gets dragged under by the collapse in footfall on the High Street, Boohoo continues apace.

Other fashion businesses are lumbered with expensive premises, rents, business rates and stock they are struggling to sell. In 2020, demand for office wear, clothes for a night out and special occasion wear have plummeted.

Boohoo have adapted and pivoted towards selling more casual wear such as joggers, hoodies and serviced the “top half only” dress code of the Zoom based workday. As a result, the company have seen year on year sales grow while all around them the fashion world is crumbling.

The Plimsoll Analysis of Boohoo shows a company whose rate of growth and profit was slowing. Whether they manage to maintain their strength remains to be seen but in a fashion market decimated by COVID-19, they are a standout performer.

Laithwaite's Wine

As the party seems to be over for much of the UK for now, so Laithwaite’s Wine have been filling the gap left by emptying pubs and bars.

The family run wine delivery business has seen 117% year on year growth in sales of prosecco alone and a 300% increase in new customers in March and April. As people avoided supermarkets back in the spring so they had their tipple delivered.

As with other sectors, companies like Laithwaite’s are bridging the divide that the “new normal” has forced on us all. As more and more lockdowns prevent people from going out for a drink, home delivery firms will prosper.

Just Eat

OK, so they’re not technically a restaurant and they serve no food but the meteoric rise of Just Eat cannot pass by without a mention. While the rest of the food services and restaurant industry has been shuttered and lay-offs abound, Just Eat has simply powered ahead.

Group orders have seen a 46% increase to 151 million during the third quarter. In the UK alone, orders rose 43% to 46 million. As the creeping intensity of lockdowns begin to shutter more ‘eat out’ options, the only way seems to be up for the delivery behemoth.

Plimsoll’s latest analysis of Just Eat shows a company still in the middle of its expansionary phase. While the rate of growth is starting to slow, the next set of results should show a significant rise in revenue. Perhaps they could use their virus windfall to bolster working capital in the business?

The only option for many businesses whose model has been affected by the coronavirus and the cessation of much of what we previously took for granted is to pivot. Many companies need to find a new way to do what you did to get through this current malaise. For many, the alternative is to completely shut down, hunker down and wait for the storm to pass. How sustainable is that as furlough schemes become less generous? These examples show how to thrive in the middle of pandemic.

Visit Plimsoll today at to find out the winners and losers in your market.