22 November 2014 Print Companies

Precision buys big in the north

Precision Printing has taken a majority stake in expanding First 2 Print with plans for more growth.

Precision Printing has changed the name of acquisition First2Print within days of completing the purchase of a controlling stake in the Sunderland printer.

The purchase gives Precision its first wide format capacity and an entry into customer facing web to print. And there are plans to extend the Wherethetradebuys.com website that is part of the business as well as for Yourwalls.com, an online bespoke wall coverings website that launches in January.

It also provides a northern base for the Barking business says Precision chief executive Gary Peeling. “These are two areas that we wanted to look at for some time,” he explains. “The wide format sector is a mature market, but remains a market where margins remain healthy and are not under the same pressure as others, and all our customers use it.

“We didn’t want to just buy the equipment because the learning curve is quite steep, but was a market we wanted to move into.

“Secondly it opens up opportunities for our own web side. Our business model has been built around providing output solutions for other website portals and that will continue. We have wanted to move into the ‘upload and print’ space. In the UK this is a market that nobody has quite cracked yet. We had some experience with Pixart and First2Print has been successful with an upload and print service backed by real human support. We think we can grow it from sales of £1 million to £5-10 million quite quickly.”

The Yourwalls.com brand will focus on delivering wallpapers for consumers, typically patterns decorated with images of cartoon characters for children’s bedrooms, but also as a bespoke service where designers can upload designs and order patterns and thirdly for bespoke corporate interiors. The site is in final testing before the January launch says Peeling.

These will be printed on the existing HP Latex and Durst Omega wide format inkjet printers that the Wearside business operates. It has now acquired an adjacent unit and is installing an Indigo 7500 to offer the same level of output as the main Precision business.

While Precision has been looking at ways to enter the wide format business for some time, Peeling says Martyn Young approached him during a DScoop meeting.

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Gary Peeling

Gary Peeling

Acquisition of First 2 print provides a northern base for the London company and brings experience in customer facing websites to graft to Precision's workflow management skills.