Wednesday, June 27, 2018

News: Crawshaw staking future growth on factory stores

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The Rotherham-based Crawshaw Group Plc, the UK's leading value butcher, has continued to be hit by challenging high street trading conditions.

The AIM-listed Hellaby firm reported a trading update ahead of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) which looked at the 20 weeks to June 17 2018. Group sales were at -1.6% with like-for-like sales down 12.9% for the same period.

Crawshaws said that the trading performance of high street shops remains challenging and "reflects the widely reported lower footfall and softer consumer sentiment." However, it added that the factory shop format continues to perform well in this environment.

The results follow on from disappointing financial results for the year to January 28 where group revenue rose 1% to £44.6m but there was an underlying operating loss of £2.0m, an increase from the £1.1m loss reported in 2017.

The group also reported a statutory loss before tax of £13.5m, compared with a loss of £1.4m the previous year, due to a one off non cash impairment charge of £10.6m and £0.8m exceptional costs.

A transformational 2017 deal with the 2 Sisters Food Group enabled Crawshaw to restart its accelerated new store opening programme, with an initial focus on factory shop locations.

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The pre-AGM statement added: "There are numerous key sales-driving and cost-saving initiatives currently being undertaken to improve performance in our high street estate including the strategic development of our central production to enable us to re-align the store labour model and improve instore efficiencies while promoting our high standards of customer service. With these initiatives well underway, we believe the majority of our high street stores are capable of generating an improved return.

"We continue to work through this period of transition as we rebalance the portfolio away from its historical dependence on high streets and towards the unique and successful factory shop format, which underpins the long-term profitability of the business. We have opened a further two factory shops in the year taking our total to 12 within the estate and these shops are trading in line with the Board's expectations. We plan to open a further three new shops of this type during the remainder of current financial year."

Jim Viggars, Chief Executive Officer at Crawshaw plc, said: "Whilst the trading performance in our high street estate remains challenging, our team of great colleagues will strive to capture available growth. Our factory shops continue to perform well, and I am confident that repositioning the Group towards the successful factory shop model will strengthen Crawshaws' position as the country's best value butcher and improve the long-term profitability of the business."

Crawshaw Group plc website

Images: Crawshaw

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