// The Works racks up “significant additional costs” while shoring up its supply chain ahead of the golden quarter period
// The retailer said it was being affected by “shortages of ocean freight and UK haulage capacity”
The Works, which sells books, stationery, arts, crafts and toys has racked up “significant additional costs” while seeking to shore up its supply chains for the key golden quarter but has insisted that full-year profits will be in-line with market expectations.
The retailer said it was being affected by “shortages of ocean freight and UK haulage capacity” during the countdown to Christmas, despite investing to secure its supply chain earlier in the year.
However, The Works said that it expected “to have the stock we need in order to achieve our sales plans” and said early Christmas sales had been “positive”, with “signs that customers are shopping early” for the festive season.
In a a trading update to the City, The retailer said sales in the first half of its fiscal year had been “stronger than expected”.
Like-for-likes jumped 14.5 per cent during the 26 weeks to October 31 compared to pre-pandemic levels, while total sales were up 17.9 per cent.
Online sales doubled on the same two-year basis with the retailer saying the growth had been buoyed by the number of families taking ‘staycations’ amid the international travel restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
It added that it had delivered “strong” performance during the back to school season.
The Works refocused its strategy in July as boss Gavin Peck, who took the reins in January 2020, sought to make the business “better not just bigger”.
The business hailed “good progress” against that strategic plan, highlighting improvements in ranging and merchandising in the arts and crafts category, better space management in stores and improving product availability.
The Works now trades from 526 stores having opened three new shops during its first half, closing five sites and relocating four others.
Peck said The Works was “cautiously optimistic” going into the Christmas period and added: “It’s clear from these results that our products resonated extremely well with customers during the pandemic, helping them to read, learn, play and craft through lockdown.
“Our strong sales in recent months demonstrate that demand has been maintained and customers continue to value our offer. It’s particularly pleasing to see that whilst our online sales continue to run at almost double their pre-pandemic levels, store sales are also growing.”