Studio has provided an update on its “record” trading performance in the year to 26 March 2021 with adjusted pre-tax profit expected to be in the region of £48m to £50m, up 75% to 83% on £27.3m in FY20.
The group noted that trading in the traditionally quieter final quarter was “exceptionally strong”, and product sales in Q4 were 88% ahead of prior year.
This performance in Q4 contributed to product sales growth of 43% for the full year, with gross margin rates up 290bps year-on-year, a “record breaking performance” for the group.
The business’ active customer base has also risen by 36% to 2.5 million this year, with over 1.5m active credit account customers, up by 15% against the prior year.
In addition, the proportion of sales coming from the Studio App, downloaded by over a million customers, has increased to over 25% during Q4.
In its latest update, the retail group also confirmed it has concluded the sale of Findel Education Limited for a gross consideration of £30m.
Studio said that it contacted a “significant” number of parties to participate in the sales process, adding that “despite engaging extensively with many of these parties, discussions did not progress beyond receiving qualified, indicative and non-binding expressions of interest for the company”.
Its board received multiple offers to acquire the group’s educational resources business with the company, however, and the business has now been sold to West Moorland 221 Limited, a newly formed company owned by investment funds managed by Endless LLP.
Paul Kendrick, group CEO, said: “Studio has seen strong trading during the financial year ending 26 March 2021 whilst successfully managing the operational challenges of the pandemic, which, along with the sale of Findel Education, creates a step-change in our financial position.
“We start the new financial year from a position of focus and strength, with the growth in our customer base demonstrating the success of our leading online value retail and integrated financial services offer.”
He added: “I am hugely proud of all my Studio colleagues who have worked tirelessly throughout the year in order to deliver this trading performance. We will continue to support our colleagues to ensure their safety and wellbeing through these challenging times.”