// Cake Box half-year pre-tax profits down 4% to £1.66m
// Sales were also down, slipping 2% to £8.59m in the half year period ending September 30
// However, franchisee like-for-like sales up 12.1%, including a 51% increase in online franchisee sales
Egg-free cake specialist Cake Box saw profits fall four per cent as the national lockdown over spring took its toll on the business.
The second national lockdown in England is also slowing growth, the retailer said, but a dividend was paid out and bosses said they were confident for the future.
Stores are now open – except in shopping centre kiosks – but the damage from earlier in the year saw pre-tax profits for the six months to September 30 fall to £1.66 million compared with £1.74 million during the same period a year ago.
- Cake Box sales bounce back after lockdown closures
- Cake Box to reopen all shops by early June
- Cake Box suspends dividends
Sales were also down two per cent to £8.59 million in the period but bosses are hopeful over new store openings and enjoyed an online boost by offering cakes via Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo.
“We have shown considerable resilience during an unprecedented half-year period and have emerged a stronger business for it,” Cake Box chief executive Sukh Chamdal said.
“This is demonstrated by the strength of our trading momentum since reopening the business, with our franchisee like-for-like sales up by 12.1 per cent, including a 51 per cent increase in online franchisee sales, six new franchise stores opened and a record number of new store applications.
“This gives us confidence that the momentum in our national rollout will return to pre-Covid levels.”
He also announced an increase in the interim dividend payment due on December 23 by 15 per cent to 1.85p a share.
A dividend of 3.2p a share was initially scrapped in April due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was reintroduced in October.
It means the biggest shareholder – Chamdal himself, who owns 29.2 per cent – has paid out dividends to himself of £646,000.
Since the second English lockdown, sales have slowed and are now rising at just two per cent but the boss is optimistic over new store openings and a new warehouse.
Five new franchise stores were opened during the period – in Staines, Barnsley, Tolworth, Cricklewood and Corby – with 20 due to open during the financial year.
And a new Coventry warehouse and distribution centre is expected to open before the end of March – with sponge production capability – which will provide a back-up for the company’s other production facilities in Enfield and Bradford.
with PA Wires