// Wilko full-year pre-tax profits and sales decline in “challenging” year
// Pre-tax profits dropped by 65% while sales declined 5.6%
Wilko has seen its full-year pre-tax profits and sales drop thanks to the “challenging” UK retail environment.
In the year to February 1, the retailer’s pre-tax profits dropped by 65 per cent, exacerbated by a 5.6 per cent decline in sales to £1.5 billion.
Like-for-like sales declined by 6.1 per cent during the period, while sales of own-brand lines grew during the year and represented 55 per cent of overall sales.
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Meanwhile, Wilko’s EBITDA rose 7.5 per cent to £48.5 million during the year.
“There’s no denying it has been an incredibly difficult year for retail, but our continued focus on product development, controlling our margins, cash and costs and driving further operational efficiencies means we are making the right decisions to offset the challenges of the current retail market and realise our long-term vision,” Wilko chief executive Jerome Saint-Marc said.
The retailer did not draw on any banking facilities during the year and ended the financial period with net cash in the bank of £94.1 million.
“We quickly invested in safety and protection measures, we’re providing full pay for all our team members without seeking government assistance to do so, we’re working hard to protect as many jobs as we can and we’ve met all rent and supplier obligations in full to date.
“It’s reassuring to see the Wilko way of pulling together in action despite the many challenges our team members face at work and at home.
“We have experienced a mixed and dynamic trading performance during the pandemic but are confident that our robust planning means that we’re prepared for the future, whatever it may bring”.
Earlier this week, Wilko was accused of failing to keep staff and shoppers safe during the coronavirus crisis but has since hit back at union bosses to defend its position.
The GMB alleged that staff were “terrified” to work at the Wilko branch in Leek, North Staffordshire.
The trade union expressed concerns around the availability of hand sanitiser, issues over the use of card-only tills, and the management of queues at the Brook Street store.