// The Works sales drop 19% to £206.2m for the 53 weeks to May 2
// Its entire UK store estate of 527 stores remained closed for 16 weeks
// The retailer said it finished the period in a strong financial position
The Works has seen its sales drop by almost 20 per cent as a result of almost six months of store closures throughout the year.
For the 53 weeks to May 2, The Works said total sales declined 19 per cent to £206.2 million.
The stationery retailer said that during the period, its entire UK store estate of 527 stores remained closed for 16 weeks and there was an eight week period where 75 per cent of its stores were closed.
However, like-for-like store sales were up six per cent on 2020 and online sales grew 120.9 per cent compared with the previous year.
The Works has confirmed they are on track with their January profit forecast.
The retailer said it finished the period in a strong financial position, with cash of approximately £7.5 million during the year and flagged that since stores reopening sales had been strong.
“Due to its strong financial position, and the evident appeal of its proposition, the board is confident in the future prospects of the business,” The Works said.
Meanwhile, interim chief financial officer Steve Alldridge, who joined the business in June, has been formally appointed to the board.
The Works chief executive Gavin Peck said: “Like many retailers, the last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for The Works, which has historically relied mainly on in-store sales.
“Our business was severely impacted by successive lockdowns and forced closures of our entire store estate.
“Despite this, the period has highlighted the resilience of the business and our ability to both adapt our offer and leverage our multi-channel model.
“Since we couldn’t control store closures we focused on the things we could, keeping tight control of costs, optimising our operations and vastly improving our online offering.
“As a result, our financial position remained strong, online growth exceeded our expectations, and when stores re-opened we saw customer demand returning quickly to pre-Covid levels.
“I am incredibly proud of our colleagues who have supported each other so brilliantly and the unique culture at The Works that has enabled us to withstand this difficult year and emerge quickly and optimistically as a stronger business.
“Although uncertainty remains, particularly around the shape of the consumer recovery, the board expects the early progress to continue and remains confident in the future prospects of the business.”