Hiring young graduates and training them as sellers and service staff drove up revenues at Softcat (SCT) in the reported period, while robust demand for cyber security, data storage and other lucrative offerings widened its margins. As a result, the FTSE 250-listed provider of managed IT services delivered a 9 per cent rise in underlying operating profits to £44.2m.
Softcat's cost of sales benefited from £3.4m in one-off procurement savings, but exclude those and the gross margin still widened by 0.2 percentage points to 17.4 per cent. Management increased average headcount by just over a fifth, fuelling double-digit growth in sales of hardware, software and services. Combined with its focus on more profitable high-tech offerings, the upshot was that its customer base grew by 8 per cent to 12,200, and underlying gross profit per customer rose 6 per cent.