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ScS sees shoppers slow their pre-Christmas spending in the face of supply chain issues

Image courtesy of ScS

ScS says shoppers seem to have changed the way they buy larger items ahead of Christmas – buying earlier this year before slowing down their purchases. This, it says, appears to be driven by supply chain issues.

The upholstered furniture and flooring retailer, a Top350 retailer in RXUK Top500 research, says in an AGM trading update today that orders in the first 16 weeks of its financial year, to November 20 2021, were 10.6% lower than the same time last year, but 0.9% higher than in pre-pandemic 2019. 

ScS says it had a good start to the start of its financial year, with orders up in the first nine weeks of the year, compared to the previous year. In the last seven weeks, however, store footfall and conversion rates have fallen, and shoppers are spending less on big ticket discretionary purchases – such as sofas. “This appears to be driven by a change in behaviour with consumers shopping earlier for Christmas when compared with previous years,” says ScS in today’s statement. “The extended product lead times currently being experienced across the furniture and wider retail industry are also having an impact on current purchasing trends.”

The group’s order book stood at £131.9m on November 20, £71.5m higher than the same time two years ago. Online orders are 38.5% higher in the first 16 weeks of the year than at the same point in 2019. 

ScS says it is harder to predict how customers will want to buy and engage with it in the upcoming winter sales period, but it is planning to work with existing suppliers to cut waiting times and mitigate supply chain challenges, while also working with newer UK suppliers in order to cut lead times. “We believe our continued focus on a promotional, value-led proposition will remain attractive to our target market and the board looks forward to the future with continued confidence,” it says in today’s update. 

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