‘Erratic’ customers hamper Eddie Stobart

The owner of haulage business Eddie Stobart has reported a difficult summer as erratic customer behaviour impacted its business.

Stobart Group, whose trucks are a common sight on Britain’s motorways and have featured in a Channel 5 documentary, said shorter notice, inaccurate customer forecasting and fluctuations in volume disrupted trade between May and July. However, the firm said August trading had “improved materially” and forecast a stronger second half of the year.

Elsewhere, the company saw progress in its air division, as London Southend airport, which it owns, signed a deal with budget airline EasyJet. The airport’s rail station, operated by Stobart Rail, also opened in July.

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Eddie Stobart has some 2,250 vehicles and seven million square feet of warehousing across the UK.

The group said it had progressed well in the first six months of the year and expects to deliver profit growth in its interim results, published in October.

John Lawson, an analyst at brokerage Investec, said the company had been “proactive in adjusting to the changing economic environment” and had been rewarded with a material improvement in August trading.

Stobart has also made progress with its warehouse and distribution site in Widne. Its biomass business has traded 200,000 tonnes of product during the last six months with significant exports to Scandinavia.