// Seasalt sales rise amid pandemic thanks to online demand
// International performance offset the impact of store closures in Britain
Seasalt has recorded a 17 per cent year on year sales rise in the five weeks to January 2, thanks to online demand.
The Cornish lifestyle retailer also said its international performance offset the impact of store closures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Online sales jumped by 95 per cent compared with the same period last year, negating a 44 per cent drop in store sales in the five-week period.
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Meanwhile, international sales increased by 20 per cent year on year during the period.
Seasalt said that because of store closures, store sales for the financial year ending January 30, 2021, are expected to be around 57 per cent lower than those of the previous financial year, ended February 1, 2020.
The retailer said it is in ongoing discussions with landlords to manage the impact of this on the profitability of the store estate.
It expects online sales to have increased by 72 per cent year on year for the current financial year.
As a result, overall sales are forecast to be down by nine per cent.
“We had started our digital transformation well before the first lockdown, but the events of the past year have accelerated all our plans,” Seasalt chief executive Paul Hayes said.
“We now make approximately two-thirds of our sales online and while our stores remain a vital and constantly-evolving part of the business, we expect a much higher percentage of sales to be digital from now on.
“As we begin our 40th anniversary year, we have taken the steps necessary to prepare Seasalt for the challenges ahead and we are well positioned for continued success as the economy recovers.”
Seasalt chief financial officer Malcolm Macdonald said: “I am pleased to say momentum from a strong set of financial results last year carried on into the new financial year and through Christmas.
“By being available to customers where and when they want to shop, Seasalt has been able to continue to trade successfully through a period of enormous uncertainty in the retail sector.”
For the financial year ending February 1, 2020, Seasalt saw its turnover rise by 15 per cent to £75.4 million.
The retailer reported an operating profit of £1 million and profit before tax of £0.7 million, matching the previous years’ results.
Its underlying EBITDA was £4.4 million for the financial year, achieving a gross profit margin of 55 per cent.