The sofa retailer ScS experienced a surge in sales over the past six months as locked-down consumers opted to spend money on new furniture for their homes.
Gross sales at ScS rose by 13.9% over the 26 weeks to 23 January to reach £182.3m, compared with sales of £160m a year earlier.
However, the company, one of the UK’s largest retailers of upholstered furniture, and flooring, said new orders had slumped over the past month, with renewed coronavirus restrictions forcing ScS to close its stores during its winter sale.
The majority of ScS’s customers chose to wait until stores reopened to try out its fabric and leather sofas in person, before making the decision about which one to buy.
ScS said it had also experienced strong trading in the first quarter of the current financial year, pushing its order book to £90.5m, including VAT, on 23 January this year, £16.8m higher than at the same point a year earlier.
However, the intake of new orders at the group decreased by 65% between 20 December and 23 January, compared with a year earlier, as the impact of renewed store closures took a toll.
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As a result, the order intake during the six months from 26 July ended up 9% lower than a year earlier.
ScS said more than half (57) of its 100 stores were able to trade on Boxing Day, when it began its winter sale, and the shops traded well while they were open. However, further restrictions meant that all of its branches closed by 4 January.
The group’s website has picked up some of the slack during repeated store closures, and online orders rose by 98% compared with the same period a year earlier.
The company’s distribution centres have remained open during the current Covid-19 restrictions, in line with government guidelines, which was not the case during the first national lockdown, allowing the company to continue delivering products to its customers.
Despite repeated store closures, ScS said it remained cautiously optimistic about the firm’s outlook, thanks to the strong trading it had seen once previous coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
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