Local non-food convenience retailer The Original Factory Shop has reported a total sales rise of 13.6 per cent in its first half as the company continues to defy the economic gloom, it has been announced today.
Delivering strong sales and significant profit growth, the company saw like-for-like (LFL) sales increase 5.8 per cent for the 26 weeks to September 30th 2012 and reported a two-year LFL boost of 3.4 per cent.
Profit before tax grew 30 per cent over the period with homewares, hardwares and electrical sales performing best, all up by more than 25 per cent year-on-year despite ongoing difficulties in the sectors due to reduced disposable incomes.
Over the period, The Original Factory Shop opened ten stores, including a pop-up shop in Hull which will be open throughout the Christmas trading period and has created a total of 150 new jobs in small towns across the country.
In a statement, the retailer said: “The Original Factory Shop’s strong trading in 2012 to date and its model of opening stores in Britain’s small town high streets, typically with populations of 15,000 local residents or less, demonstrates with the right offering there remains growth opportunities on the UK’s local high streets.
“The Company has identified a network of 450 possible stores across UK high streets. We are even one of the few retailers that encourages landlords to submit potential store properties on its website.”
Improving its digital standing is also a strong focus for the retailer which has also unveiled plans to launch a new website later this month, accompanied by an in-store catalogue showcasing the online offer.
With over 1,000 products available across homewares, beds, electricals, toys and health & beauty, the site aims to improve the onsite customer experience by building its search and merchandising and incorporating a single page checkout.
Encouraging loyalty by facilitating a CRM programme, the site will be fully functional by Christmas to allow users to create and share wish lists while a mobile enabled site is also underway.
Angela Spindler, CEO of The Original Factory Shop, is positive about the retailer’s outlook for the second half.
“We are trading strongly on Britain’s small town high streets and this is because people are searching for quality brands at low prices and they love the convenience of shopping locally,” she said.
“Our online offer has gone from strength to strength and the improved transactional website will continue to support our online growth.
“That said, we know our customers still enjoy face-to-face interaction, and the helpful service they get at their friendly local store. They can now save time and money shopping on their local high street.
“We will always be committed to Britain’s small town high streets, and we see there being scope for a network of 450 stores across the UK over the medium term.”
“We anticipate a good Christmas and look forward to continued momentum and growth in the remainder of the year.”