// ScS profit increased 0.3% to £71.7m in the 26 weeks to January 25
// Gross sales rose 0.5% to £160.1m
// The furniture retailer said it is considering temporarily closing stores amid the coronavirus outbreak
ScS has seen an increase in its half-year profit and gross sales, despite consumer confidence being at its lowest thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the 26 weeks to January 25, the furniture retailer reported a 0.3 per cent increase in profit to £71.7 million.
Gross sales rose by a mere 0.5 per cent to £160.1 million, while underlying EBITDA increased from £400,000 to £3.8 million.
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Despite the sales rise, ScS said it remains “mindful of the developing situation with the coronavirus” and its potential impact on demand and deliveries.
ScS said it might need to consider closing its stores amid the outbreak, which would lead to “lower orders” while the potential closure of a distribution centre would also delay deliveries.
In the first six months of the financial year, it had driven like-for-like order intake down and invested in its online channel, which saw online sales increase by 24.5 per cent to £9.8 million.
Scs also said it had a strong balance sheet with £61.5 million in cash and underlying operating profits of £1.7 million.
In the first seven weeks of the year, the retailer saw orders increase by 3.3 per cent.
“Whilst consumer confidence remains low, the group has been successful in sustaining profitable growth and increasing its resilience,” ScS chief executive David Knight said.
“Trading in the early part of the year was particularly challenging. However, the improvement and return to growth seen over the key winter sales period and for the first six weeks of the second half was encouraging.
“In the past week we have seen reduced footfall and we are mindful of the developing situation with Covid-19 and the potential impact on deliveries and demand.
“However, we believe the group is as well positioned as it can be.
“We continue to focus on providing excellent value, quality and choice for our customers, and are committed to our strategy.
“We remain confident in the future success of the group.”