The Works has announced that total revenue fell by 19.7% to £180.7m in the year ended 2 May 2021, down from £225m the year before, as the group was affected by ongoing store closures amid the national lockdowns.
Nonetheless, the group said it welcomed a “resilient” performance, with store like-for-like sales up by 6% when trading, whilst online sales grew by 120.9% compared with the prior year.
It noted that its core arts and crafts ranges, books and jigsaws were popular throughout the year, as “families sought to entertain their children, and people looked for new activities”. Ultimately, it said it ended the year in a “strong” financial position and operationally stronger than before the pandemic.
In the 11 weeks ended 18 July 2021, the group has also seen sales grow by 13% on a two-year LFL basis.
Gavin Peck, CEO of The Works, said: “It has been an intensely challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but, because of our quick action, careful cost management and ‘can-do’ culture, The Works has emerged as a stronger business. Whilst we couldn’t control temporary store closures, we focused on the things we could control, such as improving operations, managing costs carefully and continuing to invest in our online offer.
“If, at the beginning of FY21, we had known that our shops would be closed for nearly six months of the year, we would not have expected to achieve this resilient performance. The foundations we laid before the pandemic helped us to navigate the year much more successfully.”
He added: “We had already begun to de-emphasise store openings in favour of accelerating profitable digital growth, and driving improvements through the existing store estate, with the aim of being not just a bigger version of ourselves, but a better version.
“The net result is that we have ended the year in a strong financial position, with no bank borrowings and are much more effective operationally than we were before the pandemic. We are now even better prepared to execute our refocused strategy and are confident in the future prospects of the business.”