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Hobbycraft plans multichannel expansion via small format shops – and says its online sales grew by 200% during the Covid-19 lockdown

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Hobbycraft has set out plans for multichannel expansion following a financial full-year in which its online sales grew by 19%. This year, the retailer has seen ecommerce turbocharged – reporting internet sales growth of 200% when the 12-week Covid-19 lockdown channelled all of its sales online. During the lockdown it hosted craft classes, which reached more than 15m people, on its social media channels. Since then, says Hobbycraft, demand for arts and crafts has stayed strong with customers now shopping both online and in-store. 

The retailer says Covid-19 brought new challenges and would “undoubtedly change the shape of the UK retail sector”. But it said it had emerged from the lockdown in a strong position and was now well placed to withstand the longer-term effects of the pandemic 

Full-year figures

Hobbycraft, ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research, reported total revenue of £193.6m in the year to February 16. That’s up by 8.9% on the previous year. Online revenue was up by 19% while store like-for-like revenue – which strips out the effect of store openings and closures – grew by 4.7%. Earnings before interest, tax and asset write downs grew by 21.9% to £14.8m. 

The retailer opened five shops during the year and by year-end had 99 shops. Meanwhile its Hobbycraft Club, which it says is the UK’s largest craft database, grew its membership to more than 4.5m. Hobbycraft also has more than 750K followers on social media. During the year its net promoter score rose to 86%. 

Future strategy

Hobbycraft now plans to invest in multichannel by opening new smaller format UK shops in “relevant locations” as it looks to improve profitability and brand awareness. That, along with investment in its online experience, will help it to grow its click and collect services.

Hobbycraft chief executive Dominic Jordan said: “We are pleased with our performance and how our offer improved again over the past year. We continue to execute our strategy with improvements in product ranges supporting multi-channel growth. Our broad range of products continues to evolve with more specialist materials and newness ensuring that we satisfy the needs of craft enthusiasts and stay ahead of the competition. New ranges delivered growth across a number of areas including art which saw growth of 20%, kids painting at 17% and digital cutting with growth of over 100%.

“Our resolute focus on the strategy will see us bring further product innovation and inspiration, a new approach to online demonstrations and workshops, new stores and further investment in our ecommerce platform to support future growth. 

“As ever, these plans are underpinned by a focus on great customer service and colleague engagement. We seek to provide inspiration to customers in the local communities we serve and allow our colleagues to demonstrate their incredible knowledge and passion for crafting.”

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