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Hobbycraft to relaunch website and launch transactional mobile site plus click-and-collect

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Hobbycraft, the arts and crafts specialist, has set out plans to sharpen up its multichannel proposition. It is planning to relaunch its website and to debut a mobile transactional site later this year, as well as rolling out click-and-collect in 2013.

The plans were outlined as the private equity-backed retailer announced earnings (EBITDA) of £15.6m in the year to February 19, on revenue of £106.5m, up 12% on the prior year. Chief executive Catriona Marshall said: “We want to put the customer at the centre and build multichannel around them.”

Hobbycraft’s numbers were delivered despite the up-front cost of investments in trading and financial systems, as well as investments in its supply chain. Marshall said: “We needed to change the infrastructure so we could scale the business up quickly. Now we’ve got through the risky parts and are looking for growth.”

In the months of trading since February 19 Hobbycraft reckons performance has been solid. Marshall said the retailer has had a “good” first quarter with sales boosted by the Jubilee and by the wet weather encouraging people to stay indoors to do arts and crafts.

Hobbycraft says it has also benefited from the introduction of new products to broaden its customer base to include young mothers with children.

In the physical world, HobbyCraft’s store strategy saw it open 10 new stores in the period so now operates from 61 outlets. Its private equity owner, Bridgepoint Capital, wants to refresh the chain with the revamp of some stores. It is also introducing product demonstrations, rationalising product lines and looking for cheaper global sourcing to control costs.

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