Belfast Telegraph

McCue Crafted Fit boss to step down after 32 years

Les McCracken
Les McCracken
Center Parcs
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

The head of McCue Crafted Fit, one of Northern Ireland's most successful fitout firms, is to step down.

Managing director of the company, Les McCracken told the Belfast Telegraph that he had embarked on a phased retirement process. Operations director Gary Purdy has been named managing director designate at the Carrickfergus-based company, and will officially assume the position next year.

"After 32 years at McCue, I have decided to take life more leisurely," said Mr McCracken.

"Gary Purdy has a wealth of knowledge and expertise and has risen through the company from the joinery floor to operations director and now managing director designate.

"He has been my right hand man for these latter years and there is no better man I entrust this company and its future to."

Founded over 60 years ago, McCue has grown into one of the biggest names in the fitout sector.

But despite the growth of recent years, the company revealed in May that its turnover fell by £1m to £34.9m for the year to November 30, 2018, with pre-tax profits slipping from £2.9m to £1.9m.

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The firm, which employs around 138 people, said over 60% of its turnover in 2018 came from the hotel and retail sector.

In a report, the directors said the increasingly competitive nature of the market place and the drop in high street footfall were providing challenges.

Despite the potential future high street difficulties, McCue has been successful in securing a series of niche high-end clients in both the retail and hospitality sectors.

The Co Antrim firm completed a number of projects across Europe in 2018 for upmarket north American fashion firm URBN, which owns the Free People, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters brands. McCue Crafted Fitout is currently working on Urban Outfitters' new 60,000 sq ft headquarters in Brick Lane, London.

The company also recently completed work on the boutique Standard Hotel in King's Cross, London, with features including the second-longest bar in the UK.

Other projects include Ireland's first Center Parcs resort in Longford and Cafe En Seine and the Merrion in Dublin.

"There is no doubt we work in a competitive market where there are many fitout companies," said Mr McCracken.

"But our relationship with our clients is key.

"McCue has been fortunate as the sector has had its challenges these last 10 years from rising prices to low footfall on the high street," he continued.

"The reasons we've been moderately successfully are simple; decisive and intuitive decisions have been made but, most of all, its people are good people who love what they do, understand their jobs and inspire others to be their best.

"Although there is some time to go until my tenure ends, the future of this company will indeed flourish under Gary's leadership."

Belfast Telegraph