The Works says its focus in 2019 will be on taking its multichannel approach to more customers, as it reported a first-half lift in sales but made a loss at the bottom line in the first half of its financial year.
It plans to open 50 new stores in its full-year, the first in which it has been listed on the London Stock Exchange. So far this year it has opened 32, taking its total stores to 484.
The retailer has rebranded to TheWorks.co.uk as it looks to promote its multichannel proposition in a year in which it launched a new Republic of Ireland website, along with click and collect functionality. In its core UK market, click and collect is its fastest-growing channel.
The retailer outsourced its ecommerce warehousing and fulfilment to a third party logistics provider during the half year. This, it said, would allow it to expand its online range further, but in the short term it has led to increased costs and meant that it needed to scale back online sales in December. “We continue to believe this move was the right decision for the long-term success of the business and are working closely with our partner to address the challenges faced and drive efficiencies through the operation,” it said.
The discounts books-to-crafts trader, ranked Top150 in IRUK Top500 research, this week reported sales of £91.5m in the half-year to October 28. But at the bottom line it made a pre-tax loss of £7.9m, widening from a loss of £4.5m last time, after costs including the relocation of its ecommerce fulfilment operations and costs related to its stockmarket flotation.
Chief executive Kevin Keaney said: “We have continued to delight our customers with our wide and constantly refreshed range of great value products through our flexible and convenient multi-channel offering.”
“We continued that momentum into the second half with like-for-like sales growth of 4.5%. This is a record performance for us, with customers recognising our great value and exciting product range that made us a go-to choice for Christmas. I want to thank colleagues across the business for their hard work and for going the extra mile to deliver this excellent result.”
“In 2019 our focus will be on introducing our unique multichannel value proposition to even more customers by expanding our store portfolio and our online offer whilst remaining flexible and nimble traders whatever the economic environment may be.”