High Street

The Works sales plunge 19% in FY21

The chain’s 527 stores remained closed for 16 weeks over the past year

The Works has reported a 19% sales drop for the 53 weeks to 2 May, resulting in £206.2m in overall sales.

This result comes after the retail chain saw its sites closed over the past year due to Covid-19 lockdowns, which it attributed to the financial outcome.

During the period, The Works’ entire UK store estate of 527 stores remained closed for 16 weeks and there was an eight week period where 75% of its stores were closed.

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Despite this, like-for-like sales increased by 6% during 2020 and online sales grew 120.9% compared with the previous year.

Gavin Peck, chief executive officer of The Works, 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.”

He added: “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.”

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