The Works says its ecommerce sales are still running twice as high as before the pandemic, as it continues to focus on growing online rather than through new shops.
The Works, a Top100 retailer in RXUK Top500 research, says in a half-year trading update today that overall sales in the 26 weeks to October 31 are on course to come in ahead of the same period two years ago, both on a total (+17.9%) and a like-for-like (+14.5%) basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures.
Online sales, it says, have continued to be double the level they were two years ago, as consumer demand remains high, potentially as a result of families taking summer holidays in the UK and then buying from The Works as children returned to school.
Gavin Peck, chief executive of The Works, says: “It’s clear from these results that our products resonated extremely well with customers during the pandemic, helping them to read, learn, play and craft through lockdown. Our strong sales in recent months demonstrate that demand has been maintained and customers continue to value our offer. It’s particularly pleasing to see that whilst our online sales continue to run at almost double their pre-pandemic levels, store sales are also growing.
Looking ahead, the retailer says it is also seeing “positive” levels of early Christmas sales, for which it planned ahead in order to ensure it has stock in place in the light of supply chain issues.
Peck says: “Looking ahead, we have a fantastic range of products for our customers this Christmas with initial demand for them already very strong. We are cautiously optimistic about prospects for our peak sales season and our ability to trade through the ongoing supply chain challenges faced by the majority of our sector. As we celebrate our 40th year, I am proud of the business that The Works has become and of our colleagues who work incredibly hard to delight our customers and support one another.”
The retailer has closed a net two stores, and traded from 526 shops as of October 31, as well as online.