// Matalan sales down 11.2% to £119.2m in the five weeks ending January 2
// The quarter leading up to it saw sales drop 21.4%, thanks to the English lockdown in November
Matalan sales took a hit over the crucial Christmas season as enforced store closures adversely impacted trading and online growth failed to make up for it.
In the five-week period ending January 2, the retailer posted sales of £119.2 million – a 11.2 per cent year-on-year decline.
This performance came despite Matalan’s online offering growing 84 per cent over the Christmas period in the wake of increased supply chain and order fulfilment investment.
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Meanwhile the quarter leading up to the Christmas period was even more dire, mostly due to the national lockdown in England, as sales fell 21.4 per cent to £244.8 million.
The retailer said its outlook remained cautious given the current lockdowns in place in all four countries in the UK.
It also said it would continue to provide click-and-collect from its stores, safely, despite a growing number of other non-essential retailers temporarily suspending the service amidst the new strain of Covid.
“Today’s results reflect the severe Covid-19-related disruption to store trading throughout November as government restrictions required us to close completely or trade only ’essential’ ranges within stores,” Matalan executive chair Steve Johnson said.
“This followed a period of robust autumn trading in September and October, within which full-price sales grew against last year and customers continued to feel comfortable and reassured in our large, convenient and safe store environments.
“All of our stores across the UK reopened during December and performance prior to further restrictions being announced was strong, as customers sought out true value, against an uncertain consumer, economic and political backdrop.
“Since Christmas, the Covid-19 landscape has deteriorated significantly with all of our UK stores once again mandated to close on January 4 for an uncertain duration.
“As such, we remain very cautious about the months ahead and are working with our key stakeholders to manage the business accordingly, focusing on optimising online performance, cash preservation, working capital management and minimising costs.
“We have swiftly taken the necessary action to protect the business. Whilst we have furloughed the majority of our store teams, we continue to fulfil online demand from many of our stores and also provide our popular click-and-collect service, enabling safe and convenient access for our customers to essential clothing and homeware items for themselves and their families.
“Our experience of reopening our stores following a lockdown gives us confidence that we can once again trade well in what will undoubtedly continue to be a tough retail environment.”