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ScS sees late summer boost

HoFFLUpholstery and flooring chain ScS has seen a double-digit rise in order in recent weeks.

Like for like orders grew by 13.3% in the nine weeks to 19 September. The rise compares with an increase of 5% for the year to 25 July, which was hit by a 15.9% drop in the moth around Easter.
‘Our analysis suggests that the business did not lose market share during this period. Whilst trading returned to a normal pattern through the summer and beyond, the business wasn't able to recover the impact from the loss of footfall and trade in our stores during this key period’, says David Knight, ScS ceo.
Knight said the April and May downturn was ‘no more than a temporary setback as demonstrated by the positive like for like order intake to the end of the financial year and a continuation of that trend in the first nine weeks of the current financial year.’
During the year, gross margins dropped from 43.8% to 43.5% thanks to its pre-Christmas free carpet promotion. Operating profits, excluding exceptional costs of the stockmarket flotation, fell £200,000 to £6.4m.
In the year upholstery sales rose by 2.9% (£6.4m), flooring by 4.6% (£1.4m), online 25.4% (£1.7m), three new stores £6.8m and the expansion of the House of Fraser For Living concessions from 3 to 30 £21.2m. These combined saw sales rose by 13.2% to £292.2m.
Knight said the chain had learned during the year from the HoF concessions. ‘Our first full year operating the concession has proved challenging for us as we have learned more about the customer and operating as a "third party" but it did generate sales of £21.2m in its first full year, albeit with a negative impact on our result. We believe that as the concession matures, it will make a positive contribution to the group's profits.