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Amazon and home deliveries lockdown boosts UK's biggest box maker DS Smith

JIM ARMITAGE
Royal Mail vans are parked in the Leytonstone post office depot in London, Britain early July 6, 2017: REUTERS

Britain's biggest cardboard box maker DS Smith has seen a surge in revenues from the work-from-home boost for Amazon and other online retailers.

The global giant DS Smith said demand from industrial clients for its boxes had fallen sharply due to covid, but that its business supporting e-commerce firms had boomed.

Northern European boxes for e-commerce had surged by "double digit" percentages for the year to 30 April, which included one month of the lockdown.

British shoppers increased their weekly online retail orders 200% in April and May, according to Statista data.

Packaging for home deliveries and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as supermarket foods and perfumes are seen as the major growth area for DS Smith but sales of big corrugated boxes to industry remains a major part of the group's business, and that was badly affected by the covid crisis across the world.

Overall operating profit was up 7% against the previous year at £455 million on revenues down 2% at £6.04 billion. Sales were fuelled by the contribution of its e1.7 billion takeover of Spanish rival Europac although part of that was offset by a fall in prices of cardboard.

Northern Europe, the company said: "Benefited from the additional demand as covid-19 lockdown began in March for FMCG and into April for e-commerce, with overall volumes in e-commerce experiencing double digit growth for the year."

The company also said its underlying prospects were being boosted by the public's increasing awareness of the need to cut out plastics from packaging for environmental reasons.