Tuesday, September 29, 2015

News: Strong performance for Crawshaw

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Crawshaw Group PLC, the Rotherham-based fresh meat and food to go retailer, has seen strong performance "with significant trading momentum and profit growth."

The AIM-listed firm recently announced details of its growth plans that will see it invest £200m, opening 200 stores and creating 2,500 jobs. From its new base at at Hellaby, it currently has 24 retail outlets throughout Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Humberside and Lancashire.

Reporting its trading results for the six months to July 31 2015, Crawshaw said that underlying performance in its stores has lead to a 42% increase in group turnover to £16.7m and a 44% increase in gross profit to £7.5m.

As the firm invests in new stores to deliver significant expansion plans, the financial performance has been adjusted to give an EBITDA (earnings before tax) figure of to £1.2m, a 41% increase on the £0.9m reported in the same six months last year.

Specialising in larger value packs and multi buy offers, earlier expansion plans had to be scaled back following the economic downturn and the VAT changes on the hot cooked product offer. The new plans are being helped by the appointments of Noel Collett, formerly Lidl's chief operating officer for the UK business, and Alan Richardson, who joined from Morrisons Supermarkets Plc where he was a key member of the commercial team supporting the rapid expansion into the convenience store format.

The report picked out the performance of new stores which represent Crawshaw's "rollout concept" for future expansion. New stores in Bolton and Worksop (pictured) opened well and are trading ahead of expectations with early indications they will outperform "base case" profitability assumptions.

The report also highlighted the recent acquisition of Gabbotts Farm Ltd, consisting of 11 retail butchers shops, and a factory shop attached to a small distribution centre in the North West of England. The board said it was "delighted with both the strategic / geographical fit, and its performance to date."

Richard Rose, chairman at Crawshaw, said: "Since my last statement at the end of June we have seen a significant improvement in sales momentum as a result of a number of initiatives launched by new management. This has strengthened our like for like performance from -2.2% in Q1 to +3.5% in Q2. I am pleased to note that this has continued into H2 with the first seven weeks of the period showing like for like sales at +6.7%. This improvement is being seen across the whole Crawshaw and Gabbotts store portfolio and so is particularly encouraging.

"Our growth plans are progressing well with significant progress being made by the new management team on building the required infrastructure to support them."

Over the next 18 months the Crawshaw Group said it will invest £25m, creating 375 Yorkshire jobs.

On the back of the continued results, the board is offering an interim dividend in line with last year of 0.1p per share.

Crawshaw website

Images: Crawshaw / Facebook

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