Hobbycraft posts increases in FY results

Sales for the year rose 12.8 per cent, while profits were up 18 per cent.
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During the year, turnover increased to £95.2m compared to £84.4m in the prior year. EBITDA increased by 18 per cent to £14.4m, from £12.2m in the previous years. The retailer also reported a strong balance sheet, which is debt-free.

The results for the 52 weeks to February 20th 2011 marked its first full year under the ownership of Bridgepoint. During the period, four new Hobbycraft stores were opened, bringing the total to 51 at the year-end.

The appointment of a new CEO, Catriona Marshall, was also made during the year and the company implemented a new three-phase operational improvement plan.

The firm says the plan has included significant investment in a number of areas including recruitment, new store design, IT and supply chain management.

Catriona Marshall, chief executive, commented: "The company’s performance over the past year has been encouraging and reflects the growing popularity of arts and crafts in the UK. The business is undergoing a lot of change, as we look to appeal to new customer groups. We are still only part-way through implementing our plan with a new management team in place which has the relevant skill set and experience to drive profitable growth.

"Whilst we are not immune to the effects of a consumer downturn, we are confident about the long-term prospects of the company and are pleased with progress to date. Today’s results show that our business continues to perform well as we seek to strengthen our position as the country’s leading arts and crafts retailer."

In order to target more customers, Hobbycraft is focusing on building relationships within the local community of each store through outreach programmes and social media.

The firm says that the sales increase during the year was due in part to the effect of 'more schools being proactive in making and crafting, with a variety of projects'. The retailer is now inviting school groups into the stores to help them with projects and to teach new craft skills.

Hobbycraft believes that the increase in crafting with children is also being reflected in the home where, according to the retailer's research, parents and kids are spending more time baking and doing other craft activities.

Since the year-end, Hobbycraft has opened two further new format stores, bringing the total number of stores to 53, with a number of new store openings or refurbishments underway.

Following Marshall's appointment Hobbycraft has embarked on a new three-year business plan. The first phase is already underway, with the roll-out of the new store concept, which was launched in Orpington, Kent (pictured).

Key changes include a more contemporary design, a brighter ambience, improved signage, increased space, and more participative activities. The Company has made a positive move towards encouraging its staff to provide in-store demonstrations.



Summer sales increase

UK Retail sales rose 1.8 per cent in value on a like-for-like basis in July 2009 and up 2.6 per cent on a total basis according to the British Retail Consortium.

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