The Johnson Service Group's origins can be traced back to 1780. Our traditional textile-related businesses grew through the progressive amalgamation of a number of regional companies including Pullars, Zernys, Bollom, Crockatts, Smiths, Kneels, Harris Clean, Hartonclean and Johnsons. We entered the market for hospitality services through the acquisition of Stalbridge Linen Services in 1995, and achieved UK market leadership in textile rental through the acquisition of the Semara Group in 2000.
Following a strategic review in 2002, we disposed of a number of underperforming and non-core businesses, including our Irish textile rental businesses and Washroom Services.
At the same time we have increased our exposure to growing markets by establishing in October 2003, with the acquisition of Workplace Management, a new division which has a unique business model addressing the rapidly growing market for facilities management.
We have also strengthened our representation in drycleaning in Southern England under the Johnsons brand, and through the acquisition of the prestigious Jeeves business in central London, together with its overseas franchising operation. We also acquired the Sketchley retail drycleaning business in May 2004.
In July 2004 we further strengthened our corporatewear offering with the acquisition of Dimensions, the UK's leading corporatewear supplier.
At the beginning of 2005 we acquired the DCC Corporatewear business, focusing on the financial services and leisure sectors. In October 2005 we bought SGP Property Services, providing white-collar facilities management to the financial services and leisure sectors. Both businesses extended our service offerings and ideally complemented our established strengths in corporatewear for retailers and facilities management for the commercial office market.
During 2007 the integration plan for the support functions of the division continued. Design, technical and sourcing were consolidated centrally whilst maintaining the individual market positions of our six business brands. Wessex Textiles, specialising in ambulance and paramedic clothing, was integrated into Dimensions Corporatewear with significant cost savings.
Towards the end of 2007 the Board undertook a review on the Company’s operations in order to determine the most appropriate strategic direction for the Company. One of the conclusions of this review was that the Board should investigate opportunities to reduce indebtedness and financial gearing. This decision ultimately led to the sale of the Corporatewear division with the disposal of Johnson Clothing Ltd, the leading UK supplier of clothing for people at work, which was completed in April 2008.
The Corporatewear division had also historically included CCM which supplied workwear garments to the rental business of Johnsons Apparelmaster and to third party customers. One of CCM’s major external contracts was lost towards the end of 2007 and the balance of this workwear operation was reorganised and then sold. The sale of CCM was announced and completed in March 2008.