BAMKO (PPAI 242148, D11) registered strong growth in 2021, its performance a highlight of parent company Superior Group of Companies’ (SGC) fourth quarter and year-end financial report. Excluding personal protective equipment (PPE) sales, which faded over the course of 2021, the Los Angeles-headquartered distributor ended the year up 65 percent over 2020.

“We are very pleased to report that we exceeded our sales guidance for 2021, in spite of the impacts of the pandemic and supply chain difficulties,” says Michael Benstock, SGC chief executive officer. “It was quite an achievement to be able to exceed 2020 net sales in 2021 despite the fact that net sales of PPE in 2021 decreased to $38.6 million as compared to $131.2 million of PPE sales in 2020.”

Superior Group of Companies, Inc. (SGC), which operates in the promotional products market through distributors BAMKO, Sutter’s Mill Specialties, Inc. (PPAI 103083, D3), Tangerine Promotions, Ltd. (PPAI 439779, D1), Public Identity, Inc. (PPAI 230372, D1) and Gifts by Design, reported that for the year-ending December 31, 2021, net sales increased $10.3 million, or 2%, to $537 million compared to $526.7 million in 2020. Excluding PPE, SGC’s annual net sales were up 26%. BAMKO’s net sales increased 6.8% to $215.8 million dollars, reflecting an increase of $77.4 million dollars in core branded merchandise partially offset by a decrease of $63.7 million dollars in PPE sales.

“We couldn’t be happier with where we are or where BAMKO is going,” says Jake Himelstein, president of BAMKO. “We built on the tremendous sales success of 2020 and added an astounding $77.4 million in core branded merchandise business. As impressive as our 2020 growth was, I think 2021 is an even more impressive growth story because of the sustainability of the revenue we added this year. Unlike the PPE sales, adding over $77 million in new core business fundamentally changes what BAMKO is going forward.”

SGC’s net sales for its fiscal 2021 fourth quarter were $142 million, a decrease of 2.3% compared to the 2020 fourth quarter of $145.4 million. When PPE sales are taken out of the equation, the company’s net sales increased 28%. BAMKO’s registered fourth quarter sales of $63 million dollars, a 41% increase excluding PPE.

“From a bottom-line perspective, inflationary and other cost pressures intensified during the year, negatively impacting our results,” Benstock says. “Additionally, as the supply of PPE goods overwhelmed the market, we determined that it was necessary to take write downs against our remaining PPE inventory of $2 million in 2021 with $1.6 million of this amount being recorded in the fourth quarter. While this was a negative impact for earnings in 2021, I would point out that we sold approximately $170 million in PPE product in 2020 and 2021 combined. As we begin to move past the difficult comparisons with the tremendous sales of these PPE products, we believe we are well positioned to continue to show significant growth going forward and continuing improvements in our operating results.”

SGC ended 2021 with a promotional products backlog of $74.3 million dollars, made up of $2.7 million dollars in PPE and $71.6 million dollars in non-PPE. The company reports that this is the largest backlog in its history, resulting from huge bookings of promotional products in fourth quarter 2021, which are expected to deliver in 2022.

“There are a number of things that we’ve done correctly the last couple years that are worth being proud of,” says Himelstein. “We were early to seeing the PPE opportunity and had the sales and operational excellence to capitalize on it. We then used the windfall from that success to reinvest in the business in a way that made us a better, more capable, and more competitive company. The result of that strategy was the exceptional growth in our core business in 2021. We intend to continue to invest in talent, technology, resources and capabilities in a way that will make us an extremely appealing option for customers and for talent that is looking for a place that is committed to investing in its own future. Kudos to the entire BAMKO team and the culture that makes this the sort of place where we dare to believe in the possibility of doing incredible things.”